'American Idol' Red Carpet: Haley Reinhart, Casey Abrams and More!
'American Idol' Red Carpet: Haley Reinhart, Casey Abrams and More!
American Idol welcomed back some familiar faces for the season 11 finale, including Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams from season 10. Here's what Haley, Casey and more had to say before the show's big finish.

Finale Recap: And the Winner Is...>>

Haley's arrival on the red carpet followed the release of her album Listen Up, which dropped yesterday. She said she'd already gotten good feedback on it, and that "I'm proud to say I co-wrote everything other than the first single."

The album is close to home for her in more ways than one. "I've got my dad on the guitar playing like, four tracks. I just have to get my mom and my sister on the next one," she explained, adding that she comes from a musical family: "My parents have been in a band together. That's how they met." She hopes to be touring in the fall.

Of her Idol experience, she said, "We all have a really strong bond. I think that we're all trying to keep in touch as much as possible. Nobody knows that kind of bond we share. It's kind of incredible."

That was a word also used by Casey, but more in relation to one of the night's finalists. "We definitely have a bond," Casey commented when asked if he saw any similarities between himself and Phillip Phillips. "It was actually really weird because he's going through some stomach pain just like me, and he's also doing the whole changing chords around to match his voice."

But before you worry about him, he said "I haven't had a symptom for six months." Does he think his health issues could have been stress related? "Most definitely. I had to deal with a lot. Everyone [on the show], they're going through so much, they don't get a break, [but] you forget about it when you love it so much."

Casey's musical career is moving forward: on June 26, he releases a self-titled album on which he plays "bass, electric bass, upright bass, guitar, drums, keyboard, [and] recorder."

Haley and Casey were joined by season nine's Tim Urban and Didi Benami.

"I've just been trying to get the right music and get the right label," said Tim of where he is in his musical exploits. "It's so good right now. I had some great calls yesterday, had some really exciting meetings in the next couple of weeks. It's been a long process but it always is. I think we're almost there. The music's ready and the labels seem to be excited."

What can we expect from him going forward? "Lyrics are really important to me, and I've found a great songwriter that has the same thought process as me," he explained, telling us that he enjoys writing love songs and "songs that are uplifting."

While he thought the Idol results could go either way, Tim pointed out an interesting fact about the competition: "If you look at the most successful people after Idol, it's been the ladies," he said, adding that as far as what happens after the results, "It's really [about] the album you put out next. Hopefully they both get to make the albums that they want to."

"I'm releasing independently. I have taken my time to kind of figure out where I wanted to go and find my footing," explained Didi, who shed some light on her new single "Gasoline" which she said was much darker. "I got the inspiration from...a broken relationship I got myself into, and I knew I shouldn't have, but I did it anyway. I ended up getting a really great song out of it. With this release, I'm releasing the heartbreak of that whole situation."

In addition to her music, "I've been taking acting classes now. I just did a music video with Theory of a Dead Man and I was the lead actress. It's about a girl who has overnight success," she said, and added with a laugh, "It's not me, I'm just acting!"

Who else was on the red carpet? I found comedian Jonathan Mangum, whom you may remember from our hilarious chat in my blog last Friday. Who did he like to take the title?

"I like Phillip Phillips because his name sounds funny, but they're both great," he said. He's got some advice for future contestants on reality shows: "Don't be afraid to fail because that's the biggest thing. If you don't risk, there's not going to be a reward. And if you fail, fail big. Because even that would be exciting to an audience."

Speaking of exciting an audience, I took a moment to ask Jonathan if he'd like to have any of the Idol judges or even any other particular celebrities as guests on his new ABC series Trust Us With Your Life, where he, Wayne Brady and others use the lives of the rich and famous as improv fodder. He's got one person in mind: "I'd love to get Kim Kardashian because I'd love to make fun of her for 30 minutes without interruption," he said, adding that "I think all celebrities deserve to be made fun of for at least 30 minutes on national television."

So who would win in a sing-off between Jonathan and Wayne? "He would win because he can sing, but I would ultimately win because I would punch him, and he would go down, and you can't win if you're unconscious," quipped Jonathan.

All in all, it was an interesting night on the American Idol red carpet - and that was before the winner was announced! Stay tuned for my interviews after the finale.

For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my BuddyTV writer page, and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Image courtesy of FOX