While I’m usually happy to be a part of Billboard writer Fred Bronson’s projects, I have to admit I’ve been kind of leery about working on his latest. Fred is writing an article about “American Idol” for Billboard for which he’ll be interviewing this year’s Top 10 contestants. In fact, one day this week, Fred will interview all five of the remaining “Idol” hopefuls, one of the few times the producers of the show have allowed an outside writer to interview the contestants while they’re still in the running.

But while I’ll have the chance to tag along and meet all of the current contestants, there is also a downside to the project, at least for me. Fred is planning on doing a one hour interview with each singer, and it’s my job to transcribe every word. Keeping in mind it takes me from three to four hours to type up a one hour interview, that means when all is said and done, I’ll have completed between 30 and 40 hours of typing in just a few days. Oww, my aching fingers!

But at least I’ve already gotten one of the interviews out of the way! Fred interviewed Chikezie Eze on Friday at the Billboard offices (which turned out to be just a few blocks from where Chikezie went to middle school). I was very impressed by Chikezie’s smarts and sense of humor. But how could I not like a guy who lists “House” and “Heroes” as his favorite TV shows?

Right now Chikezie is looking forward to the start of the “American Idol” summertime arena tour. Because he’s the tenth runnerup, he gets to open up each concert. He’s trying to pick some fun high energy songs to do, because he realizes that would not be the time to do a slow sad ballad. I’d be more worried about if he can tear himself away from the new Apple computer he just got to take the stage at all!

Look for more reporting by me on the “Idol” interviews later this week (which should serve as a preview for Fred’s far more extensive article), as well as my usual comments on Tuesday night’s performances. It remains to be seen if I can still be as tough on the contestants after I’ve met them! That is, if my typing fingers hold up…


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