Though he barely made the cut for the American Idol top 12, Chris Sligh has no qualms about coming in 10th place in the reality competition. "I've actually got nine labels after me right now," says the curly-haired singer, who packed a portable recording studio to bring on the American Idols Live tour. "We're not allowed to sign a record deal until the end of August, but I've been writing songs and it's going really, really well." Here is what else the Greenville, South Carolina, native shared with TV Guide in the midst of venue-hopping.
TV Guide: How is life in Omaha?
Chris Sligh: Omaha is actually pretty cool. We've got two days off here, the first time we've had two days off while on tour. I did a lot of scouring [to learn] more about the city and I bought a skateboard, so I've been skateboarding. It's great.
TV Guide: Where have you been skateboarding?
Chris: Just all over. Like, up to the old market here in Omaha, and back down to the hotel. It was a lot of fun. My legs are tired.
TV Guide: Are you a big skater? Do you do that at home, too?
Chris: I used to. I think the last time I skateboarded I was 16 or 17. I used to do a lot of half-pipe stuff.
TV Guide: Did your wife get worried when you told her you bought a new board?
Chris: No. She was just like, "How much did you spend?" I was like, "It was only $120. Come on!"
TV Guide: You should take her out with you next time.
Chris: Yeah. I'm going to pick her up and skateboard while I'm holding her. That won't scare her at all!
TV Guide: You could go on America's Got Talent with that trick.
Chris: I actually thought about going on America's Got Talent this year but the auditions happened too early.
TV Guide: Did you really think about it?
Chris: No. I don't feel like I want to whore myself out to another reality show. But my cousin was actually on America's Got Talent. He made the top 10. He was the guy that did the female impersonations with the dummy. We're a talented family, I'll tell you that much right now. [Laughs] We've got ventriloquists and OK singers. It's pretty awesome.
TV Guide: I heard you have a whole recording studio on tour with you. Is that true?
Chris: I do. I take it around with me mostly just to annoy everyone else. No, I'm working on demos and writing some songs and everything like that. I'm writing some songs for Phil [Stacey]'s album and I'm obviously writing songs for my album. It's going really, really well. I've written some stuff that I'm really excited about and getting ready for when we're actually allowed to record again.
TV Guide: You have to wait to record again?
Chris: We can record demos but we can't record for real until after the tour is over.
TV Guide: What kind of music have you been writing?
Chris: The record deal that I'm going to be signing, I'm going to make a pop-rock record. I hate comparing it to anything but, just to give people a reference, I'd kind of say later U2 — like "All That You Can't Leave Behind" — and stuff, like, that meets The Killers. I guess the best way to put it is I'm a big fan of emotional music that uses layers and very rhythmic stuff to put across the emotion. U2 is my favorite band of all time, so I guess it's definitely pretty U2 influenced.
TV Guide: That sounds really cool.
Chris: Yeah. I wish I [had still been on Idol] to meet them. Everybody gives me a hard time because, at the beginning of the season, they always ask you, "Is there anybody that you'd like to meet?" I said, "There's only two people where I would freak out. Bono and Paul McCartney." Paul McCartney, of course, was originally supposed to do the British Invasion week, then he backed out, and I was kind of disappointed about that. Then I got voted off and then we find out that Bono is going to be on the show!
TV Guide: Did you think about hanging out all night backstage to meet him?
Chris: I didn't know, and plus I was doing some interviews and stuff so I couldn't make it out to L.A. If I had known earlier, I probably would have come out to L.A. just so I could meet Bono.
TV Guide: You should ask the producers to make that up to you.
Chris: I know! But they don't really care about me because I came in 10th place.
TV Guide: Tenth out of thousands and thousands of people doesn't seem too shabby.
Chris: That's true. But they still don't care about me. [Laughs] [On tour] they're like, "OK, Blake and Jordin, what kind of Pop-Tarts do you want?" and they take the good flavors. Then they're like, "OK, Chris. You get the French toast."
TV Guide: You get the ones with no frosting.
Chris: Yeah. I'm like, "Gosh, guys. Come on! I came in 10th place out of thousands." But they're like, "You were 10th." They don't really do that, by the way.
TV Guide: Any funny stories about meeting fans on the road?
Chris: I've met some really interesting fans. I have this one fan who is awesome. She lives in Miami and she drove to the first four shows. Then she drove to Houston and she's driving up from Miami to Washington, D.C., to see me. It's crazy! Then she waits outside for me every time because we take the time to go outside and sign autographs for the people that wait out for us until 11:30. I go out there and Carmen is there every time. I would never do that. Maybe for Bono, but that's about it.
TV Guide: Maybe you're her Bono.
Chris: Maybe I am her Bono — except not as short and without the Irish accent.
Get weekly updates on the American Idols Live tour throughout the summer in TV Guide (try four risk-free issues now) and on TVGuide.com. Plus, TV Guide Network's Idol Chat hosts Justin Guarini and Kimberly Caldwell will appear in person at the concert on Aug. 28 in East Rutherford.
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