Dalton Rapattoni on His Idol Triumphs ('Sound of Silence,' 'Bird Set Free') and His Decision to Come Out as Bipolar

Dalton Rapattoni says his past experience in the boy band IM5 definitely helped him during his third-place run on American Idol‘s farewell season — but not for the reasons you might expect.

“I already knew how to talk to people in the music industry,” Dalton says during his three-part video interview with TVLine, so not only was he able to stand up for his creative ideas when meeting with producers, he also knew to be respectful to key advisors during stressful situations.

Dalton breaks down his approach to some of his best moments on the show (including the emotional release of “Bird Set Free”), explains what went wrong during “Radioactive” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and reveals the song he was thwarted (twice!) from singing during the live rounds. Plus, we hear more about the week he wavered between “Seven Nation Army” and “God Only Knows.”

If that’s not enough for you, Dalton also delves into the reasons he never considered keeping his bipolar disorder from the viewing public, and shares his plans for a post-Idol future.

Press PLAY above for Part 1 — and below for Parts 2 and 3 — then share your thoughts in the comments!

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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  1. Abigail says:

    I loved his performance of Hey There Delilah…can’t believe he said he had doubts about it.

  2. Elizabeth Turner says:

    Thank you so much for this! This was one of the most in-depth, informative, and just relaxes interviews. I always love seeing Dalton, but I also loved hearing about what the process is like for all of the idols and also hearing about some backstage stuff. You asked great questions! With access to smartphones and tablets, it’s hard to understand good interviewers these days; people just pick up a phone and think they can do it. This is good.

  3. jefrank4 says:

    Great to hear from these folks, Michael, but the production values (esp. the audio) were terrible. You deserve better!

  4. Abigail says:

    Great interview…let us know a lot about what was going on during his idol journey.

  5. Lois says:

    Really interesting interview. Great to hear Dalton’s take on his performances and his journey. Wish him all the best in his career, I’ll be keeping an eye out for him.

  6. Dawn says:

    Great interview! Learned a lot about Dalton and AI. Loved every song he sang on AI and listen to them often. Maybe too often because now I can’t get him and his songs out of my head…

  7. Marian says:

    This was a great interview with Dalton Rapattoni as usual. It shows even more his honesty and never ever negative about an issue or individual. He is just a beautiful on the inside as he is on the outside. He will go a long way since he does what he feels and so very talented. He is on the road of success and hope he gets a contract he so deserves.

  8. Christy says:

    Terrific interview with Dalton! I love how open and honest he is. He did a wonderful job of interpreting other people’s songs, but he is an amazing songwriter, so looking forward to hearing new, original music.

  9. Faye says:

    Great interview. I love that he was very open about the idol process while still being very appreciative of the the people, the show and the the opportunity it afforded him. He is not wasting any time going forward with his music and that is key.

  10. karenb says:

    High crime area, Slezak?! I think I heard sirens on the beginning of Part 1 lol! Anyway, great interview! Funny how Dalton said that only one sickness per week can be mentioned! Oh that Idol manipulation! Haha. Enjoyed the deep dive into his journey. Sad that we won’t get a Mackenzie interview! But grateful for the other interviews!

  11. Sarah says:

    I too liked his performance of Numb. I don’t know why the judges didn’t like it that much, lol.

  12. John O. says:

    Michael- When will you post the final Reality Check with Melinda? Did you 2 find something to do with all your spare time?

  13. Jeanette Castro says:

    I love all the 3 American Idol. I believe they will all have great future on the music industry. I love Trent, Dalton, and LaPorsha. Good luck n God Bless in e everything n everywhere you All go. Peace

  14. ninergrl6 says:

    Dalton seems really sincere and open about himself, his music, and his Idol experience. I hope to hear more from him soon. Thanks for the great interview, Michael.

  15. blavon34 says:

    I enjoyed the interview. It was a open and honest interview. He seems to know what he wants to do and how he wants it to happen. That’s commendable, especially for someone his age. Best of luck in your future endeavors, Dalton
    I will be watching and waiting for your new music to arrive.

  16. Kelly says:

    I keep getting an “error loading media” message on the videos here lately. I’ve been able to find reality check on youtube, but not these interviews. Anyone know a trick to get them to play?

  17. awesome interview with Dalton there for sure Michael, i really appreciated how honest and sincere Dalton was, especially about how AI works and all… and i loved and love every song that Dalton sings, before during and after idol, cant wait to get all his songs from iTunes when i can, and also looking forward to his future songs and albums to come, you’ll get far kid, i know it, you know it, we all know it… DALTON RAPATTONI IS AMAZING AND AWESOME!!!

  18. Really enjoyed this interview. Learned some things and can’t wait for Dalton’s new cd!

  19. Amy says:

    (sidenote..maybe Idoloonie nation needs to print up some t-shirts #ForNow)
    Enjoyed the interview, as I do all of them. I knew Dalton was not “the singer” this season, and admittedly, during Idol’s run…my favorites during and post season were some of the biggest singer’s singers– Kelly, Carrie, David A., Candice. But I’m also a huge Daughtry fan (love his rock voice too.). And Phil Phillips was my guy that season, cuz every dang time he was on screen I was captivated and enjoyed his musical performances. So that’s how it was for Dalton with me…he did captivate me, I liked some of his “switch-ups”, liked even his sometimes OTT “theatricality”, his vibe and his look. Something about him …I realize it’s one thing to enjoy someone on Idol, quite another if they keep your interest post-idol…only some have for me. I’ll be looking to see what Dalton does next, seems like a nice guy and an interesting performer~wishing him the best.
    Looking forward to that Final (for now) Reality Check!

  20. Carola says:

    Love that kid so much! Great interview.
    He is super talented and has star quality IMO. Apparently 19 is still in talks with him and also other talent agencies are in line too.
    Hope he gets a recording contract soon. I am sure is coming.
    With the right material, team and label behind him he could become very successful. Plus he is so marketable.
    Best Wishes Dalton!!

  21. Beverly says:

    I like this guy, Michael. He is very clear about who he is and what he wants. Not blowing any smoke anywhere. Very talented, I will be waiting to hear from him again. Good interview.

  22. bradybunch4u says:

    So Michael, did you feel the sting when Dalton said contestants get hurt by bloggers nasty comments? Or when he told you this isn’t American Opera. He clearly had read your incredibly derogatory comments. Smart young man. Eloquently put you in your place. Bravo Dalton.

    • Zac says:

      Poor Dalton!! How dare anyone say anything critical about his voice during his time on a signing competition! Such nasty bloggers for stating their own opinion! /sarcasm

      Something tells me you weren’t so personally affronted when “nasty” (aka “honest”) commenters made similar statements about other contestants.


  23. Alan Dvorkis says:

    I am so happy I got to hear this interview. I suspected that Dalton did not want to do Radioactive. When I did comment on Idol, I always felt that Dalton was genuine. I still can not think of a better word to describe him. He comes across as an honest, respectful, down to earth kid. He acts far beyond his years. His honesty throughout the interview was refreshing. I argued that his emotion when he sang was never manipulative. I think this interview clearly backs that up. I wondered why he got away from making songs his own. We now know why. It is a shame that Idol did not give the contestants a chance to do their best week in and week out. I think if Dalton had the opportunity, some of his self admitted vocal shortcomings would never have been brought up. He was always the one person, I looked forward to hearing. Phantom and Rebel Yell blew me away. They were unique, sung in tune and ultimately very entertaining. I can only imagine the if he had both the freedom and time, we would have had more of those and less of the Radioactives. No matter, it is hard not to like Dalton. It is hard not to root for him as he battles a very difficult illness. It is nice to see a singer who just wants to connect and give that to an audience, whether he sings it perfectly or not. I would go to his show. I might be the only aging male there, but Dalton’s best performances, gave me the most joy and left me with the best memories. I thought the interview went well. I think that people who were anti Dalton, may cut him a bit more slack after listening to this. He deserves that. I root for him to find success. He admitted he does not care if he makes it big or not. Either way, I do hope he is popular enough to have a career, even if it is very minor. I am fan of Dalton’s music. I am now an even bigger fan of Dalton, the person.

  24. Lux says:

    Loved this in depth interview with Dalton! It is nice to hear about how it works behind the scenes and what the contestants go through. Dalton is a breath of fresh air. So honest and a true artist. Thanks for this interview! Can’t wait to see all that is in store for Dalton and his career!

  25. Becky says:

    Are we getting a final review with Melinda and you for the finale ?

  26. rereader says:

    Is there a reason these interviews are not also up on YouTube? (The interviews with Trent and La’Porsha are.)

    Thanks for the in-depth conversation!