Lil Rounds has been one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of the Idols Live Tour for me, personally. She seemed to struggle on the program itself--with the judges' backlash and often harsh critiques, with some sort of identity crisis, and with numerous showings in the dreaded bottom three--but since season 8 of American Idol wrapped, she has completely blossomed. It's almost like she's a different person. She's performing with newfound superstar confidence, she's doing choreography, she's rapping (yes, rapping!), and she's even rocking a fierce-as-Sasha stage outfit so glittery, I wouldn't be surprised if Adam Lambert is just a little jealous of her rhinestone-studded tour wardrobe.
Yes, these days Lil has a glow about her--just look at how lively and happy she appears in the video below, of my chat with her backstage at the Staples Center before the Idols' recent big L.A. concert. She looks radiant as she discusses her sparkly stagewear, the thrill of performing without fear of judge commentary (I do believe it's the relief of no longer having to face Simon Cowell that's helped Lil emerge from her shell), and how it feels to do the "Single Ladies" dance for stadium audiences of thousands night after night. She comes across as "lil'" no more, but as a BIG star.
Check out the video of our conversation below, along with a full transcript:
REALITY ROCKS: Okay, so we're here with Lil Rounds. You are looking gorgeous!
LIL: Oh, thanks!
REALITY ROCKS: Is this what you're going to be wearing at the show, or are you going to change into some stage gear?
LIL: Oh, we have to go for stage gear!
REALITY ROCKS: That must be one of the funnest [yes, I know "funnest" is not a word] parts of the tour.
LIL: Definitely, definitely. You know, the outfits bring out what we're doing and what we're singing. And my outfit is a little bit of a shocker!
REALITY ROCKS: A shocker?
LIL: Yeah! [laughs] It's one of those outfits where you see it and you go, "Oh! Okay! So she wants to do it like that!" But it's really nice. I really can't wait till tonight when I get to pull it out and get out there on that stage and just enjoy myself.
REALITY ROCKS: Well, I know you do [Beyonce's] "Single Ladies"...you don't wear the one-sleeved leotard, do you?
LIL: [laughs] Oh, no!
REALITY ROCKS: 'Cause that would be hot!
LIL: That really is hot. But I had to remember that there would be children in the audience! [laughs]
REALITY ROCKS: Maybe even your children!
LIL: Right, definitely, definitely! My outfit is really nice. I won't tell you exactly what it is, but I'm pulling out the stops!
REALITY ROCKS: Awesome! So what would you say--besides the outfits--is the best part about doing this whole tour?
LIL: I have to say, you know, just being able to get up on that stage and not have to worry about the judges coming at me--you know, hammering me a little bit after I get through singing. You get up there, you sing, you enjoy the positive energy in there, and you get off that stage and...home free! You know? Whatever people thought about the performance, it is what it is, but you don't have to really hear--for me, anyway--the criticism. You know, I'm just hoping that everyone just really gets the chance to enjoy it.
REALITY ROCKS: Well, I think also what probably is a plus for all of the people on the tour is when you're on the show, you may have to sing in genres that you don't know well or don't like...
LIL: Definitely, definitely.
REALITY ROCKS: But here, you get to show what you do best.
LIL: Right, right. You get to pick your songs, what you're looking at doing as an artist, and you know, you get to go from there. I love to dance, even, so I have a little choreography in my set.
REALITY ROCKS: Do you have two girls behind you [like in the "Single Ladies" video]?
LIL: Man, I wanted that so bad! But I have to get the crowd to kind of "oh oh oh" with me [does the signature "Single Ladies" hand gesture]. You know? It's gonna be really fun, though.
REALITY ROCKS: That song must go over really well with the crowd.
LIL: Oh, man! From the shows we've done before now, everybody's been like, "Lil! We were dancing! We were with you!" So that was great. It's going over really, really well. I'm happy.
REALITY ROCKS: What would you say is the most difficult part of being on the tour--just in terms of the travel, being on the bus together...is there anything that's sort of like a stress?
LIL: Um, all of it is going really, really well right now. I guess the hardest part is just not having the children with me every step of the way--them not being able to just travel on the bus with me. But other than that, everything's going really good!
REALITY ROCKS: Are they [your kids] going to come to any of the shows?
LIL: Yeah, they'll be there. They'll be coming to the Arizona show.
REALITY ROCKS: Awesome! Well, good luck with that, that'll be fun. [19 Entertainment person tells Lil to wrap it up...boo!] I've been told I need to let you go do your next interview.
REALITY ROCKS: But thanks for talking to me, and have fun out there tonight!
LIL: Thank you! All right! Looking forward to seeing you!