Idol-filled afternoon

Kai Magsanoc

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RAPPLER's Kai Magsanoc got as close as she could with the American Idol Top 10 and tells us about an afternoon to remember

ELISE TESTONE, JESSICA SANCHEZ, Hollie Cavanagh and Erika Van Pelt, all smiles despite exhaustion and jetlag. Photo and videos by Kai Magsanoc

MANILA, Philippines – As they say, there is no rest for the wicked.

The wickedly talented, that is.

After arriving at around 5:54 am this morning from Los Angeles, the American Idol Top 10 finalists of season 11 went to work, following a brief rest at The Manila Hotel, their official residence.

Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, DeAndre Brackensick, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Hee Jun Han, Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon and Hollie Cavanagh began their afternoon with a meet-and-greet with their fans.

Then they proceeded to a quite lengthy presscon, where all 10 gamely answered questions from the press.

All — including Jessica — admitted that it is their first time in the Philippines. They said that their flight — that took 14 hours — was the longest any one of them has ever been on. Self-confessed “sleepyheads” Phillip and Hollie said they were asleep the entire trip.

From the get-go, it was obvious that Korean Hee Jun is the official group clown, cracking jokes and funny lines with a poker face. I asked him if, since Korean PSY’s “Gangnam Style” is so popular, should we expect a “Hee Jun Style” at their concert on Friday, Sept. 21? He gamely said, “Yeah!”

Their Philippine concert will be the last stop of their 3-month tour, and their last gig together as the Top 10 of AI season 11. Afterwards, they will go their separate ways to do their own thing, working on their respective projects.

They admit there’s a bit of sadness as Friday approaches, but they promise that it’s going to be a concert to remember, not just for their audience but for them, too.

Here’s a video I took of the presscon:

After the presscon, some of us who were invited to join more intimate, roundtable interviews stayed behind. 

My first roundtable was with Joshua, Skylar, Phillip, Hee Jun and Colton.

This was when I discovered that Joshua is super adorable (he says “Mabuhay!” every chance he gets); that Skylar is a sweet country girl (I love her twang); that Phillip is relaxed and laid-back (and he’s got a nice Southern accent, too); that Hee Jun is funny, whether he likes it or not; and that Colton is quite the serious type who likes to bite his lips (and Batman).

Watch the video of our roundtable here:

After spending 20 minutes with the first group, we transferred to the next group. There, Elise, Jessica, Hollie and Erika waited for us. 

It was obvious that jetlag was setting in, but the girls had that natural energy and rapport that allowed them to “pick each other up” and carry on with the roundtable interview with lots of laughter.

Elise reminded me of Kesha with all the feathers in her hair and her sexy voice; Jessica was subdued, obviously tired, and obviously close to Hollie; Hollie still spoke with a bit of an English accent, having been born in the UK; and Erika is a cool chick you’d like to hang with any day.

Watch the video of our roundtable with the girls here:

Before their concert on Friday, the AI Top 10 will still have a lot of meet-and-greets (“and shopping,” chirped Hollie) to do. Fans will have all the opportunities to catch them and see how genuinely nice they all are. –


“American Idol Live! Tour 2012” is produced by Ovation Productions in association with ETC, 2nd Avenue and Jack TV, with the support of The Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, BusinessWorld,,, RJ 100.3 FM, Monster Radio RX 93.1, Mellow 94.7, 97.9 Home Radio and Optima Sign Solutions. Special thanks are attributed to MCA Music (Universal Music Philippines) and Odyssey Music & Video.

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