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Matt Giraud: Backstage At L.A.’s Staples Center

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

American Idol's Matt Giraud may be a serious troubadour onstage, but when he does interviews, the results are always pure comedy gold. Seriously, if this whole Idol thing doesn't work out for him, he ought to consider going on another reality show, Last Comic Standing.

I caught up with the wild-card wildman recently, backstage at L.A.'s Staples Center before the big Idols Live concert there, and Matt was his usual enjoyably wacky self. In the space of three or so minutes, he talked about performing with an open fly, he nearly knocked over a set piece with his enthusiastic hand gestures, and he did amusing and unprompted impressions of both a squeaky-voiced female fan and Adam Lambert.

You know, just a typical Matt Giraud interview--all in a day's work!

Below is the video of our fun-filled conversation, along with a handy transcript:

REALITY ROCKS: So once again we are here with Matt Giraud, and not too long ago we were across the street [at the Nokia Theater], and you were performing at the finale. And now you're basically at one of the biggest venues in the country [the Staples Center]. No pressure! You know, it's just a place where like, U2 and people like that play. So, that must feel pretty awesome!

MATT: It does feel awesome. I'm back with another hat, a different hat. [See this previous interview to check out Matt's other hat.]

REALITY ROCKS: Yeah, and a great watch. That watch is awesome. I've got to film it. [camera zooms in on Matt's totally cool cuff watch--which, incidentally, he admitted did not work, and he was just wearing it for fashion purposes]

MATT: Um, you know, it's wild to be here, for sure. It's like, we've been preparing for it, getting all the kinks out of the show, making sure we're all set to go. One night I had my fly down for like 10 minutes onstage. So awesome.

REALITY ROCKS: Uh oh. I bet that's on YouTube somewhere.

MATT: Yeah, just beautiful.

REALITY ROCKS: Did you really? Don't you have stylists to help you with that?

MATT: I have to get into a suit in about a minute. It's a quick change where I'm like, woosh! [almost knocks over backdrop with hand gesture, laughs] Whoa! And then another time, the spotlight hit me and I didn't have a microphone because I left it on the table! So I was like [mimes without microphone]. You know, just faking it! It's like these little kinks and stuff. The beauty of live performance!

REALITY ROCKS: That's all very Spinal Tap.

MATT: Yeah, but we're all ready to go now. For sure.

REALITY ROCKS: Just don't get in any of those space pods, you know, like in Spinal Tap?

MATT: Yeah?

REALITY ROCKS: Because you'll get stuck, I bet.

MATT: No. I will not.

REALITY ROCKS: So I've been asking a lot of the Idols how this feels...on the American Idol show, you kind of have to do things that maybe don't reflect how you'd like to present yourself as an artist. You have to do Country Night, things that aren't your genre, and try to make it your own. So now you're on tour and you can properly present yourself: "This is me. This is Matt." How, in terms of the songs you're picking and representing yourself, is that coming along?

MATT: Yeah, my first song is "Hard To Handle" by the Black Crowes, which was kind of scary for me because it's like, it's the BLACK CROWES. People wanted to label me at like, the "JT" [Justin Timberlake] impersonator on the show, it seemed sometimes....

REALITY ROCKS: That was just because of the hat, to be honest. No offense to your hat...

MATT: Yeah. Well, I'm totally switching it up. [19 Entertainment person comes over and tells him to wrap it up...boo!] Okay. I'm totally switching up everything. Like, I've got a new look, new image, I'm totally like rockin' on the piano like never before. I'm channeling my inner Jerry Lee Lewis. It's way more like a musician's set. I'm like standing up and rocking out, and there's all kinds of cool things that I haven't done yet. I'm hitting some Lambert notes. [sings in high voice]  Aieeeeeeee!

REALITY ROCKS: Oh my God, I am so glad I got that on camera. You don't even know!

MATT: No, no! [laughs]

REALITY ROCKS: That's so going up.

MATT: Oh, great. I'm gonna get in trouble!

REALITY ROCKS: Why? You sounded good!

MATT: [sings again] Owwwwwow! [laughs] They're gonna yell at me for singing. I'm so excited, though. It's like a new side of me. The best thing I've heard...every night I keep hearing people say, "You know, I liked you before, but you're really good live! You're gonna go places!" It means a lot to me to hear that from people--who weren't my fans before.

REALITY ROCKS: Oh, really? Are people actually coming up to you and saying, "I hated you before"? Or, "You sucked before and now you don't suck"?

MATT: Well, yeah, I met one girl who was like, "I'm not really a fan of your voice, but you're a nice guy!" This was before the show. After the show, I was like, "Hi..." and she was like, "I changed my mind!"

REALITY ROCKS: That's good!

MATT: I really show people how I am every night, and that's fun.

REALITY ROCKS: Does that feel vindicating?

MATT: Yeah! For sure.

REALITY ROCKS: I do think a lot of people on the show--not just you but Lil Rounds, and definitely Anoop--they get misunderstood on the show because they don't have a lot of time, really, to show who they are. There's a reason they made the top 10, but then they get on the show and they get, like, torn apart, you know?

MATT: Yeah, I got torn apart too. It was like a rollercoaster, you know? It was a minute and a half [to sing each night]. So now I've got 15 minutes to get up there and go, "This is who I really am," talk to the audience, show 'em my sense of humor a little bit, and stuff like that. We really spent a lot of time putting a good show together, and I can't wait to do it tonight in L.A.! Staples Center!

REALITY ROCKS: And I can't wait to see you. I gotta let you go, but I'll be in the audience later tonight!

MATT: All righty.

 

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