Catie Turner Makes It to the Top 24 on American Idol

Suburban Philadelphia Teen Catie Turner Fulfilling Her Music Dreams on American Idol

The vibrant 17-year-old singer and musician from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, comes across in front of 10 million American Idol fans as honest, frank, bubbly and genuine. She is a likeable girl-next-door that the judges Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Lue Bryan, find both talented and unique. In fact, Perry, called Turner “a star.”

After surviving American Idol’s Hollywood Week, rigorous rehearsals and forging friendships, Turner has made it to the Top 24, and will be seen again on Sunday, April 8, and Monday, April 9, on American Idol, the show that airs on ABC from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. [ET].

For her solo audition with a band, Turner performed Bad Romance by Lady Gaga, and Perry was nervous about the song selection, but Bryan said, “I think she’s going to crush it.”

When Turner found out she had made it to the Top 24, she was an emotional mess, sobbing so much that it first appeared to her parents and other family members that she had been given the boot.

As soon as she said she had made it to the next round, there was intense group hugging and a look of pure joy on all of their faces.

How has life been since the last time I spoke to you?

Catie Turner: Insane, because I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t even look on my phone because it’s blowing up with people following me or messaging me. My life has changed in the aspect that I’m certainly not invisible anymore, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. But right now it’s a pretty good thing.

I bet. Please talk about making it to the solo round.

CT: The solo round was I think out of all the rounds in Hollywood week for me was the most draining. Everybody hits their breaking point on group day. I hit my breaking point solo round.

What did you sing?

CT: I sang an original song. I brought out the original again. That was a big risk for me because everybody was telling me no. Don’t do it. I’m like I’m going to do it anyway.

What’s it called?

CT: It’s called Pity.

How do you handle it when 10 million people are watching you on the show and all of the commercials with you that are continually airing, then going back to school where you are a regular teenage girl.

CT: Well, I still get yelled at by my parents the same. They still make me do chores. I still have to worry about school. I go to cyber-school too, so I’m behind on that and my mom’s calling me every day saying, ‘get off your phone and actually do you work.’ So nobody in my family thinks that I’m a star. To them, they’re just like ‘we have people watching, so now you really can’t be lazy; Catie, get off your phone.’

What do you study in the cyber-school?

CT: Health. I have to finish my PE credits so I can graduate for the year. It’s very easy. You just answer questions like is exercise good for you? You answer yes and get 100 points.

What is it like to watch the shows featuring you  and the other contestants who you became friends with?

CT: It’s so much fun watching the show because first you get to pick up little details that you missed. It’s also fun to see what they include in the final production because you know everything and you’re like I’m wondering what they’ll pick. Then I forgot how good the other contestants sounded. I’m like you guys really are amazing. I have some very, very stiff competition but I love it.

What do you remember about the contestants that you were with during the group audition?

CT: Here’s the thing about my group, we were the group that everybody envied because everybody else stayed up until 5 in the morning but me and my girlies just said ‘it’s 11:30 we’re getting pretty tired, we’ll see you in the morning and we went to bed.’ Somehow we still managed to do a good performance.

Maybe there’s something about a good night’s sleep.

CT: Exactly. I think everybody was rested. Your voice is rested, you’re rested, and you’re not as stressed. Also, I remember that we were just having the time of our lives and I think it paid off. I just wish my best friend there Kya had made it. Just re-watching her get cut kind of brought back memories like I wish she could have made it to the solo round with me.

Did you have fun in Hollywood in between all of the rehearsals, performances and hard work?

 CT: Completely. On those days off I would sleep. I would go to the mall. I remember during Hollywood week I was on the first day so I had the second day off until a certain time. I slept. I ate and I went to the Halloween store and that was like my big L.A. moment.

Your mom was with you the whole time, is that right?

CT: Yes.

Why is that important for you?

CT: It is very important because she keeps me calm, she keeps me grounded, and I mean as you can see I’m very hyper on American Idol. I’m very off the walls like ‘Oh, my God, give this girl a Xanax.’ She really keeps me grounded, keeps me calm. She supports me, and even though I was doing an original song for solo round, she just looked me in the eyes and said ‘Do it. I know you can do it and I know you’re scared. I was scared too, but I’m not scared anymore. I have faith in you.’ Just having somebody who believed in me that much when I didn’t believe in myself was so nice. I don’t think I could have survived Hollywood Week without her.

Tell me about your boots. I love them.

 CT: I have them in pink, blue, red and white – a variety of them.

Talk about your quirkiness because Dennis Lorenzo, the other Philadelphia contestant, made an interesting point. He said be memorable and obviously your hyper-ness and your bubbliness is one of the things that makes you really memorable.

CT: Well, I never really thought about being quirky or memorable, this is who I am. This is my personality, but amped up like 10-fold because imagine singing in front of three of music’s biggest names and not getting a little hyper? I guess it has made me memorable. I’m just like wanting to say ‘thanks for liking me, because it’s not an act. I’m not hyping it up anymore. This is just me and if people are thinking it’s memorable, that’s nice. At least I don’t have to do anything absolutely insane to be memorable.

Talk about some of the phone calls and social media posts and what’s going on. Are you hearing from old friends or new friends or strangers? Dennis was getting social media texts from India and Europe and all over the world.

CT: Yes. I completely agree with Dennis. I’ve gotten texts from Bangladesh. I’ve gotten messages from France. I’ve gotten messages from Fiji. So, really they have come from all over the place and it’s insane. I got a text from Iran today. So, people from all over the world have been somehow interested and decided to message me. Also, people I haven’t spoken to will come out of the woodwork and be like ‘Hey, Catie, remember when we were really good friends? I’m like, ‘Yeah, I guess.’

That’s the funny part of celebrity. The fame part about it, depending on where you go with this but I mean if you did a local performance or a charity performance I’m sure you would use the fact you were on American Idol. Is the notoriety that comes with this a pull for you?

CT: I definitely would bring up American Idol. I love the experience. All I could offer is thanks to the production team, to everybody who allowed me to be on this journey. Of course, I’d still associate with American Idol after this because they gave me my platform and I owe them.

I’m sure. Have you changed?

CT: I think I’m more comfortable in my own skin because at the time that was filmed it was January. You see me as the episodes air like during Hollywood week you could see how nervous and inexperienced and naïve I am, so when I look back I’m like I was so doe-eyed and I didn’t know anything. But now I feel like I’m more comfortable in my own skin. I acknowledge that this is me and I’m not going to change for some hate comments on the internet because that’s just unrealistic.

Do you have advice to somebody who has a dream? It doesn’t have to be an American Idol dream, but a big dream to play music or go to Broadway or just do something that requires a lot of rejection and a lot of perseverance.

 CT; I would say work hard and get used to backlash, because you could be the most perfect person in the world and you would still have people who find issues with that. You have to find a way to keep persevering even when people are being negative. Foremost, believe in yourself, know your talents and continue to follow your heart.

Is there anything else that you think you learned so far from the American Idol experience from the other contestants or the judges that you think really helped you and will help you?

CT: I’ve learned to let loose from other contestants. I mirrored their energy. If they weren’t nervous I could roll my shoulders back and take a deep breath and I would be okay. The thing I loved about Hollywood Week is everybody became a family because we were put in this stressful situation. We all had to adapt to each other very quickly in a very small space. Everybody kind of became a makeshift shoulder to cry on, ear to listen to, and they just taught me how to really look back and appreciate where I was.

You said your family is still making you do chores and everything, what about your close friends?

CT: Oh, they could care less. They’re still like, all right, Catie, just because you were on American Idol doesn’t mean you can’t listen to my boy problems for another hour-and-a-half. I try not to bring up American Idol as much as I can because I still just try to get a taste of normalcy in my life. So I do lay in bed until 1 in the afternoon. I do eat pancakes for dinner and I do still annoy the heck out of my parents.

Is there anything going on outside of American Idol in terms of your singing? Any career stuff since then?

CT: Unfortunately, I’m kind of at a stand-still because I’ve got to see where American Idol takes me. In the meantime, I have been writing more songs because the feedback I’m given on my original songs that aired inspired me to start getting the creative juices flowing again, and I have been writing a lot more.

Can you believe this is happening?

CT: If you told me last year that this would be happening I would be like ‘all right, sure. I don’t believe you.’ If you told me the day before the audition  as I was on the train to New York to audition that I would be performing in front of Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie, and Luke Bryan I still wouldn’t believe you. It still doesn’t seem real.

People are falling in love with you by the millions. That’s pretty exciting.

CT: It’s a little scary because I’m like it’s weird to know that people are watching your every step not. I still am a teenager and I do dumb things.

Do you have any extra-curricular activities, or anything you’re reading or movies or anything you’re binge watching?

CT: Of course. I am always binge watching something. I’ve really enjoyed End of the World on Netflix. I also saw the movie Black Panther and that was amazing. It’s so good and I’m not just saying that because of the hype. It actually deserves the hype because it’s so amazing.

My favorite recent binge watch was on Amazon, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

CT: I haven’t seen it yet.

Going forward, regardless of the outcome, what do you want for yourself? CT: I just want to know that I gave my best and that I really did put my all into everything I did during Hollywood week. Regardless of the outcome, I want to know that I tried and if I conquer that’s a plus but if I fail it’s okay. I mean I made it to the third round of Hollywood. I survived the dreaded group round so to me that’s already an achievement.

Thank you so much. It has been a pleasure.

CT: Thank you, Debra. I hope you have a nice day.


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