Idle time for 'Idol' champ

The Baltimore Sun

The always energetic Jordin Sparks was finally showing some signs of slowing down yesterday after becoming the youngest American Idol winner ever.

Taking questions in a conference call amid a marathon media tour, the 17-year-old was hoarse, and she even yawned a few times. But she has good reason to be sluggish: Sparks said she was able to get only a few hours of sleep since the Idol finale on Wednesday night.

Asked what she was going to do when she returned home to Arizona, Sparks blurted out with no hesitation: "Sleep in my own bed."

During the conference call, she talked about her plans, most of the details of which - she readily admits - even she doesn't know. But she's gearing up for the Idol tour this summer and hopes her coming album will be a mixed bag of genres.

"It will be fusion of pop, country and R&B; with that Jordin flair," she said.

And she doesn't expect to change - physical or mentally - now that she's famous. "I'm just a normal kid who was a die-hard fan of the show and still am," she said, adding, "Oh, that super-thin stuff, Hollywood needs to get over."

While Sparks was enthralled with her pre-fab Idol song, "This Is My Now," runner-up Blake Lewis, who also spoke with reporters yesterday, wasn't a fan.

Mostly, he has taken his second-place status in stride, saying he's "completely satisfied" with the outcome. But in a rare gripe, the 25-year-old beatboxer from Seattle said he wished he had been allowed to sing something more befitting his style for his final song.

Asked later whether he sold out his indie status (he has performed as an artsy musician around Seattle for the past few years) by joining American Idol, he said no. But, Lewis added, "I'll sell out if I start singing songs like 'This Is My Now.' "

As for his future, he said he's headed to New York to work on a record contract and he wouldn't be opposed to trying his hand at improv comedy on Saturday Night Live. No word from NBC on whether he'll be hosting the show anytime soon.

On Idol, Lewis showed off his acting skills in a taped bit as his "hip-hop hick" alter ego, Jimmy Walker Blue.

Sparks also has her eye on New York, the Great White Way especially.

While she says singing is her priority, musical theater is definitely an option. Other Idols have found success in musicals: Season three winner Fantasia is staring in The Color Purple on Broadway and Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for her role in the movie Dreamgirls.

But the teen-ager, who said her best moment before Idol was having braces removed, still is letting it all sink in. "I've only been doing this for one day so I'm still getting used to it."

She plans to rely on her family members, who are not strangers to fame, for support. Her father, Phillippi Sparks, was a cornerback for the New York Giants.

"It's like I've come full circle. I remember growing up and watching him give autographs," Sparks said. "Now he's watching me."

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