By Robert Philpot
TCU grad Tim Halperin wasn't on American Idol very long this season -- he made the top 24 but was cut in the first results show -- but if you're familiar with his offbeat singer-songwriter style, it might be an even bigger surprise that he was on the show at all.
"I don't really see myself as an American Idol type, either," Halperin said Monday during a brief phone interview. "But there are some people that I really respect in the music industry, and one of those guys gave me a call and said, 'Hey, American Idol is working with Interscope, and that's a very reputable label. They're doing MySpace auditions this year, and I know you're busy, but it'll only take you five minutes to put a MySpace video online.'"
Halperin, who has been working on an album he hopes to release by September, gave it some thought and did the video, which led to an audition in front of the Idol judges in Los Angeles. The judges were split on sending him forward, with Randy Jackson casting a no vote but Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez supplying the needed yes votes that started him on his journey (with stops in Hollywood and Las Vegas) to the top 24.
"Initially, it was frustrating for me when Randy said, 'You need to figure out what kind of artist you want to be,' because I know what kind of artist I want to be," says Halperin, who was calling from his native Omaha, Neb. "Nerves got the best of me, definitely, going into the audition, so I didn't sing as strong as I could have.... But after that [initial] audition, to be honest, I felt like all the performances went really well."
Lopez seemed particularly supportive, but Halperin says he received no advice from the judges other than what he heard immediately after his performances.
"I will say that all the judges are really kind people," Halperin says. "I was impressed with the fact that I felt like their comments were very sincere.... It's meaningful to have a judging panel that has really had to make their own way in the music industry and can relate to the contestants, who are going through the same thing."
The 23-year-old singer received a lot of support from TCU, which held a viewing party during his Idol performance episode, and from his hometown.
"I love both cities," says Halperin, who now lives in Fort Worth. "Omaha is ... where I truly started to fall in love with music. Fort Worth is where I really developed into the artist that I wanted to be.... So I was just really humbled by the amount of support I got from both cities."
Although he didn't make the top 13, Halperin says Idol has already given him a huge boost in visibility, which is what he was hoping to get out of the show. Idol's cuts this year were more brutal than usual -- 11 semifinalists were eliminated in one episode, leaving a top 13 composed of 10 contestants voted in by viewers and three chosen as "wild card" picks by judges. But Halperin says he has no regrets.
"I knew that no matter what happened, I have a lot of things in the works back in Fort Worth," he says. "I have a fan base, and there's things that I've been working at, so this was just a great opportunity for exposure and to show America what I've got."
via Star-Telegram by Robert Philpot