Idol's Amber Holcomb on Her Almost-Didn't-Happen Streisand Cover, 'Young Whitney' Comparisons and 'Boo-Boo Trash' Lower Register

Amber Holcomb may have gotten precious little screen time leading up to Vegas Week on Season 12 of American Idol, but rest assured there were plenty of musical moments percolating in the Texas teenager’s car.

Amber stopped by TVLine HQ to talk about how she prepared for her breakout Top 40 Week performance of “My Funny Valentine,” why she didn’t break a sweat tackling Whitney Houston’s “I Believe in You and Me” and what her struggle to remember her lyrics during Beatles Week meant to her song-choice strategy later in the competition.

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Other topics covered during our freewheeling chat: what tunes she tossed out last-minute during Motown and Divas Weeks; how she landed on a Celine Dion ballad during “contestant’s choice” round; and why fashion was an important part of her Idol journey. Oh, and if that’s not enough, Amber talks about the brutally edited pre-performance packages during Top 4 Redux night, where Harry Connick Jr. was shown discussing her struggles with remembering and understanding her lyrics.

VIDEO | Idology: Why Won’t Idol Let Its Finalists Be Great? Plus: Should All Four Judges Get the Boot?

So press play below for the full Idology interview, and for all my Idol-related news, interviews and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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48 Comments
  1. Jacob P. says:

    Love Amber!!! Thanks for the interview! GO CANDICE AND AMBER!!!

  2. J says:

    Amber is so funny. Great personality and voice. Great interview Michael!

  3. Adam says:

    Please tell me you discuss when she had no clue who you were and sassed you on Twitter.

  4. dani n. says:

    Somehow a little less free on your part Mike

  5. Adam Fachry says:

    I was expecting some Bad Girls Club throwdown but instead we got “hey girrl…hey” nice conversation? lol ~

  6. Tom says:

    I’m sorry, but I didn’t see much of a future for her in the industry while she was on the show and to be honest, this interview didn’t really help matters for me.

    • dani n. says:

      What’s really funny to me is that the first note she sang publicly was in her lower register and I LOVED that about her.

      • Zee says:

        Yeah like she said it’s up and down for her. It’s an easy fix for her though with some vocal coaching… She needs to put in the work but I would bet with the right coach she would be even better then the vocals she showcased on Idol..

        Her indecisiveness is present in the choices she makes when she sings and her songs and I think drives the varied quality in her performances. She fixes that and she’ll surprise people I think.

        • dani n. says:

          I love all of what you said ZEE..I adored Amber.and I see from this interview she is young&green&&hungry.Kid’s got serious pipes for sure. I voted for her even though I live Kree’s tone &Candice’s mastery.

    • bs’d
      Well, Negative Nellie, I think Amber will have a bright future. :)

    • Nephtalia says:

      I don’t want to be mean, Tom. But after Janelle interview where you can see she knows exactly where she is going, you can see Amber will need a little more. But, good luck to her!!

  7. paisley says:

    Great great interview, Michael — you are so respectful!!!! Amber is a talent, no doubt. I have her cover of “She’s Leaving Home” on my American Idol 2013 playlist.

  8. snowballx350 says:

    She’s sooooo good and I love her personality haha!

  9. Nat says:

    She was more likeable than I thought she would be, but certain things she said left a bad taste in my mouth. The “wanting to be everywhere” thing sounds fame-hungry. She said music is number one to her, and yet all her own choices were dated by 20 years or more. And she calls herself a ‘modern Whitney’ without actually elaborating what that means. Really, what does that mean? Having influences is important, but why constantly namecheck one person?

    • Zee says:

      I think she just name checks her cause she’s influenced the most by her…. I think she’s just not as articulate as she could be. I think the modern Whitney is more referring to the “branding” Whitney really had, which would mean she wants to be relevant, with hit pop records that include uptempo tracks with vocal range and melody, she wants to act, be on billboards, fashionable, fun, etc.. basically ubiquitous ….

      I think it’s fitting cause that’s exactly where I could see her career going.

      I agree about modern references but I think that’s likely due to the fact that she likes the things about 80′s pop/ 90′s pop thats missing in todays world ie. storytelling, more complex melodies, large vocal range.

      Even the Love on Top track she picked to sing was in the vein of 80′s Rnb/Pop records so I think her choices have always been pretty honest. She’ll need to bring that style to some more current instrumentation/songs and she’ll do well marrying the two.

      Adele/Alicia Keys have found great success doing that in their careers.

  10. RealityCheck says:

    she ain’t no Whiney! unless she means attitude wise…then maybe Whitney post crack is wack! Sorry, im still mad at her twitter rant on MS :(

    • ben says:

      Now I understand why this site suddenly all hated Amber. I never got that before. It doesn’t make it any more rational.

  11. dani n. says:

    Too bad this is posted today when the show is on

  12. My Alter Ego says:

    LOL! Her lower notes are “boo boo trash.” That’s funny.

    ***
    Great interview — I wondered what might happen given the twitter “feud” some weeks ago. But she’s a fun kid with a good sense of humor (and a darling dimple). Her ambitions may exceed her grasp, but, at least, she’s not going to put all her eggs in one basket.

    • Zee says:

      never say never! When Rihanna first started I never thought she’d get as far as she did. And no one else (save Jay-z) did either…

      There’s something special about Amber… I think she just needs the right team…

  13. Cunegonde says:

    Loved Amber then and now. She comes across as grounded and also aware of her strengths and weaknesses and I hope she will have a lasting career. With the right coaching and the right management team, she can be one of music’s enduring artists. Good luck!

  14. JON says:

    What Twitter feud with Amber? Please enlighten me.

    • Thea says:

      The week she wore those ripped up jeans Michael had commented on twitter about “calling 911 for that mess they dressed her in.” I’m guessing her followers clued her in, and she was very catty in her response. Word for word, “who are you again?… exactly.” Which is why most of us are (pleasantly) surprised she was so cordial in the interview.

  15. boods farkleface says:

    she totes had some ups and downs. BUT. that little bitty bit of ‘a house is not a home’ with candice? omg it killed me dead. those harmonies! the toying with inflection! i wanted to turn them both into a tuneful set of tasteful earrings so they could always sing only for me.

  16. AlyB says:

    Great interview Michael. Amber is a sweet girl. There’s no question she has an amazing voice. I’m curious whether she’d rather just do modeling/acting instead of singing or if she will dive into music. Music videos would give her a chance to get some of the acting bug out but I’m not sure how modeling would fit in to the equation unless she’s just talking less about real fashion modeling and more about being a celebrity face to products. She has mentioned runways several times now and I’m not sure where that fits in. She just didn’t sound that committed to pursuing a musical career. She has a lot of opportunities spread before her right now and at 18, some time to explore options. She definitely gave us some great performances this season and I really do wish her well whatever she ultimately decides to pursue. With a voice like hers, I do hope we hear more from her.

    • daynamonet says:

      I think she just wants to be a triple threat singer/model/actor and shes smart enough to know these days that just singing isnt enough to jave longevity in the industry anymore. Obviously mant singers/rappers also act and some model and many have clothing lines and other ventures outside of music. She has the right idea and i think with the right ppl backing her up and hardwork and determination she can definitely achieve these things. U dont havw to have just one dream

  17. Adam Fachry says:

    I find it funny that she thinks a lot of today’s music isn’t vocally challenging yet it seems to me she wants herself to be as marketable as possible. Well, honey child, you’re gonna have to sing those vocally unchallenging songs if you wanna be big and ubiquitous.

    • dani n. says:

      Yeah, it’s really something. With pipes like hers you would think it would be all about the singing.Like Adele, Alicia Keys, LeAnn Lehavre. Just using contemporary examples here.And I don’t necessarily like all their music. Just big voices. Seems to me the kid has many choices and at her age I can see why she’d like to explore them all.

  18. girl_3 says:

    As always, Michael brings the best out of every contestant he interviews. Well done! I really liked all five girls in the Top 10 this season, each for a different reason.

    That said, at the end of the interview when Amber said she wanted to sing and act and be on billboards, was anyone else reminded of the scene in Coming to America when Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are in the singles bar talking to different women, and one woman in particular was going on about how she was going to be a singer and an actress and how she wanted to be in music videos and how she wanted to direct, etc.? Only me? I suspected as much…

    First time posting. Enjoy the commenters here as well as Michael’s recaps and Idology!

    • africana says:

      lol, I remember that scene and it’s a fitting reference. The only part of this lovely Amber interview that made me cringe a bit.

  19. scrutinizer says:

    it’s strange watching such a warm, friendly and entertaining interview with amber and then read some of these negative and bitchy comments. why can’t those of you who keep putting her down just wish her well and let her explore her future without harsh predictions?
    the cards will fall where they are meant to and she’ll either be successful or not. we don’t need to be the ones to predetermine that or wish for her failure. and that is how i feel about candice, kree and all the other highly talented singers we saw and heard on idol this season.

    • Leah Hoffman says:

      I totally agree with Scrutinizer! Calm down with the bitchy comments. MS doesn’t need us to defend him, and he certainly handled it like a grown-up (or better.)

    • mike says:

      You are simply right. Being mean, judgemental, negative etc. is easy, lazy and predictable. A positive thought requires more energy.

  20. syb says:

    She’s a charming young lady who lights up a room. Love her attitude. I can see why so many of the contestants apparently loved being around her. I think as she matures she’s going to be an even more amazing singer. She wasn’t a favorite of mine this season. For whatever reason her tone didn’t agree with my ears too often, but I sure loved the Streisand cover. Good luck to her.

  21. James A says:

    Amber tweeted at Idol pundit Michael Slezak after he commented on her bad outfit, saying “uhmmm I LOVE ALL MY OUTFITS I’VE WORN..who are you again?…exactly.”

    Amber is a self entitled brat who sounds like the female version of a mad Micheal Jackson.

  22. I will buy her American Idol album as soon as it comes out. Loved her songs. And she seems like such a happy person.

  23. MADgotDRUNK says:

    Great interview Michael! Amber is a cooL person. haha she’s a baby in a nice way..

  24. lynnyloo says:

    Well she certainly doesn’t seem to struggle in the self esteem department, does she?

  25. lenna says:

    I found her the least insightful of all of them. so far the only one who (sort of) impressed me this season was janelle with the exception of possibly that blond kid whose name i had already forgotten (i think he ended up as #8)

  26. If she doesn’t work on her ability to make decisions, the industry is going to eat her alive. She seems sweet, but not very focused.

  27. Jessica says:

    I’ve been putting off watching this b/c I didn’t really like her on the show but this interview wasn’t too bad. She seems a bit younger, open for new-all- things and determined for a challenge. If she can stay current and out there, in a couple of years I think she can go far.

  28. darcy's evil twin says:

    Wow, there are some really nasty comments here. Doing porn? Seriously? You think with that loving father that joined her on stage she’ll be doing porn, LOL?
    What in the world brought that comment on?
    I finally had the chance to watch the interview. As usual you bring out the best in people, Mr. Slezak. Amber is definitely 19, but what an adorable young woman. She has massive talent and I wish her well.

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