Dexter Roberts Leaves American Idol

By Jamie Ruby

Dexter RobertsDexter Roberts, the 22 year old from Alabama, was the latest contestant to be voted off of American Idol. The singer sat down with the media recently to talk about his journey on Idol and the future.

FOX Conference Call
American Idol

Dexter Roberts

April 18, 2014
1:00 p.m. ET

SCIFI VISION: So, what’s the best piece of advice that you got while you were on the show that you’ll take with you?

Dexter RobertsDEXTER ROBERTS: Just to be myself and go out there and have fun, and just don’t have any regrets. And just go out there and have fun with America and just have fun with your fans.

SCIFI VISION: Great. And if you could sing with somebody, a duet, anybody, who would it be?

DEXTER ROBERTS: It would have to be Florida Georgia Line or Luke Bryan.

QUESTION: Was it difficult to make the transition from your life in Alabama to California?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Yes, buddy, it was really different, because I’m more of a country boy and this is city life. But, you know, I’ve tried to make the best I could, bud.

QUESTION: And what advice from the judges impacted you the most?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Probably just to go out there and have fun. And really, I remember they told me to work on my diction a lot, being able to pronounce words right, I guess it’s just a southern twang I’ve got. But that’s about it, man.

QUESTION: Now, you’ve been in the bottom tier, bottom three only once before, so after you ended up there this week against Jessica did you have a feeling that you’d be going home at all?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Man, it’s really crazy, because nobody really knows if they’re going to go home, because it’s such a great competition between us, because we’re like family. And because everybody’s so good you just don’t know who’s going to go home, but we all had knots in our belly.

QUESTION: Yes. And now, next week’s theme is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Obviously you’re a country singer, so can you say at all what you were planning on singing next week?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Yes, I was going to sing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith. And the country thing, I was going to either do a Brantley Gilbert song or I was going to do another Luke Bryan song.

QUESTION: I’d like to switch gears and ask you some questions about your girlfriend, who you actually met while auditioning. How has she supported you during your journey?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Oh man, she’s been nothing but great support. She’s been behind me the whole way, her and her family, and my family, and America really. It’s been a great experience.

QUESTION: Awesome. And when two people in a relationship have the same dreams or goals, such as becoming a singer, there can be jealousy or hard feelings if your boyfriend or girlfriend makes it. What advice do you have for couples who are pursuing similar goals such as music?

DEXTER ROBERTS: You’re going to have to work at any relationship to make it work, but just stand by each other and just keep pushing each other forward and making each other stronger, and just have fun and just enjoy life.

QUESTION: I was wondering if you could tell us how you’ve been feeling that you made it as far as you did in the competition, and did you exceed your expectations going into auditions?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Yes, ma’am. I’ve had a great time. It was just a blast to be able to be there on American Idol. I did my best, I thought. I just came out there and tried to kill it each week, and I had a really great time. It was just amazing.

QUESTION: I was wondering if you felt like the judges’ feedback was ever confusing, because sometimes they want people to change the melody, and other times they want you to just sing it straight. Did you have a hard time trying to figure out what they wanted you to do?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Sometimes I’m sitting back there and I’m like, okay, I’m trying to figure out, and I’d go back and I asked everybody backstage, “What in this world are they talking about,” sometimes. But that’s what each one of us contestants, we all had that same, because Harry, he’d say something way out of the way and we were just like, “What in the world are you talking about?” He was talking in sign language.

QUESTION: Of course, wonderful to be out there in L.A. working on the show, what did you miss about home?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Just my family and friends and just the vibe of Alabama, I love home. I wouldn’t trade it a bit. And I guess the great hunting, because you can’t hunt out here in Los Angeles. I’m a big hunter. So that’s probably the most, just all that together.

QUESTION: And you made quite a splash here when you said “Roll tide,” so tell me a little bit about your affection for the University of Alabama football team. Tell me about that.

DEXTER ROBERTS: I’m a really big Alabama fan, and I go for Auburn too when Alabama’s not playing Auburn, because it’s another great school. But I’m a big Alabama fan, my granddaddy was an Alabama fan, and I just followed, I guess, in his footsteps. And I try to go to as many games as I can. I played football, and I just love the sport.

QUESTION: Was that sort of, aside from a shout-out to your state, was that also a calculated move for votes? Some people said—

DEXTER ROBERTS: See, I always sung that song, “Sweet Home Alabama” and I always, like if I go play a bar in Tuscaloosa or something, or any kind of place, I’d always incorporate the “Roll tide” into the “Sweet Home Alabama,” because that’s just…to get the crowd going and get the crowd going with you, just have a good time. And I would always do that little pause break and say, “Roll, tide, roll,” and it’s a song, something that everybody sings along to, everyone knows the song, and it’s just something to make it your own. It’s just amazing.

QUESTION: I know from reporting on American Idol in the past sometimes it’s hard to make that transition to TV, right? You can sing in a bar, you’re okay on stage, but TV, wow! What was the biggest challenge for you making the transition to this, okay, now I’m on TV?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Well, just getting used to doing the interviews, really, getting used to having to be on TV, and, I don’t know, just the whole in general being on TV was something different. And remembering all your lines and your stuff is real different.

QUESTION: When you watched yourself on camera, which I’m assuming you watched the playback, what was your reaction to that? That must have been an unusual experience, right—

DEXTER ROBERTS: Oh, the playback from last night?

QUESTION: Any night.

DEXTER ROBERTS: Oh, any night. Well, I didn’t watch last night. I didn’t have time to. I tried to get all my stuff packed up. But, yes, I went over each night that I saw and, again, I was like, “Man, what can I do next week that I didn’t do this week, and what can I improve on just to make myself do better?” So, that’s what I did each week.

QUESTION: So you had no like, “Oh my God, there I am. I look this way, I look that way—?”

DEXTER ROBERTS: Not really. I really didn’t care what I looked like. I just wanted to sound good and I just wanted to make the crowd go crazy.

QUESTION: What inspired you to audition for American Idol?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Well, it was a dream of mine. I told my grandma, I said, “I’m going to be famous one day.” I’m going to go into something, do something for somebody or just become famous, or I’m going to sing. I’m going to do something. And all my buddies and everybody that I’ve sung to, sung in bars, and sung just at weddings and parties and stuff, I was like, “Guys, you need to try out for American Idol.” And I didn’t think I was ever good enough, but one day I was like, man, I’m just going to try out, because I just wanted to see if it worked, which sure enough it did.

QUESTION: Yes, it certainly did. I understand that you’re going to be heading for the woods with a teepee—

DEXTER ROBERTS: I get that question a lot today.

QUESTION: What else are you going to be taking into the woods with you?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Well, man, that was just a phrase that I was telling my mom, because I missed Alabama so much and missing just the country life. And I told her, I said that the only grass I’ve seen has been in between the sides of this concrete and I’ve not seen much grass or dirt. And I said when I get home I’m going to get me a teepee to go out in the woods and just stay for a few months.

QUESTION: The judges kept saying you performed popular country anthems that the crowd probably loved, but they did want to see you make the songs more of your own. But, as a reporter had said earlier on, you rarely landed in the bottom, so the anthems seemed to be working for you.


QUESTION: So what do you think happened this week?

DEXTER ROBERTS: I just don’t know. It’s hard to say. I wish I knew why I ended up leaving, but I just don’t know. It would sum up a lot of questions that I was asking about it, but I had a great time on the show and I’m going to have a great time going and being on tour. But I don’t know. It’s just a really hard question to answer.

Dexter RobertsQUESTION: Yes, sure. And did you really take the judges’ criticism on that to heart and try to make the country songs more your own, or was that something you just really weren’t interested in doing?

DEXTER ROBERTS: No! I wanted to try and make each song more my own, but sometimes the band, they didn’t think that it would sound great. And I was like well, I’m trying, man, I’m trying, and it was just like, well, let’s just play the record. And I’m like, okay. So I tried as much as I could, but hopefully when I get on tour I can have a little bit more say-so in it.

QUESTION: But do you think the judges were a little too harsh on you at times then?

DEXTER ROBERTS: No, no! I wanted the judges to be harsh on my work, because I think that if you could have criticism, that’s going to help you be a better artist. And if I’m just sitting up there, I told C.J. a bunch of times, number four, they were all just saying good things and then they started hitting the criticism and I was like, man, I love it. Everybody else is just getting down and stuff, but I said it drives me more, it’s just like putting fuel on to my fire. It makes me want to go out there and do it better each week.

QUESTION: The tour dates were just announced this week, so what are you looking forward to most when you hit the road this summer?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Just to be able to hang out with all my friends again on tour. I’m really looking forward to seeing who wins, really, because everybody’s so good you just don’t know who’s going to win. But I’m just really looking forward to being with everybody and being able to get out there on stage and not have to worry about getting judged.

QUESTION: Yes. And who did you bond with the most on the show?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Oh man, it’s hard to tell. I bonded with everybody, really. But it’s probably going to be Caleb and C.J. are the most probably I bonded with.

QUESTION: Taylor Hicks, did he give you any good advice when he was on the show? He was such a big supporter of you Alabama kids.

DEXTER ROBERTS: Yes, he came in there, I remember I talked to him in the tent and he told me to just go in there and just have fun, man, just be yourself and kill it. And it is true, he was really rooting for me.

QUESTION: Now, if you had a choice of pick, now you have been a champion, and so many artists, like Luke Bryan this season, do you have a wish list for finale, or is anybody hinting, because you know you’re going to kill it on finale, right?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Yes, I’m going to try to step out of the box and do something crazy. So, I don’t know, I’m going to work on it. It’s going to be a surprise to you.

QUESTION: Aha, the same thing with the tour, right?


QUESTION: Do you think some of the advice was a little confusing? Like Randy, when he was mentoring, saying “Put that Dexter spin on it.” That always sounds nice, but did they give you a little bit more that they weren’t showing us in the mentoring sessions?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Oh, well, I wish they did, because I was confused just as much as you all were.

QUESTION: Did the show differ a lot than what you expected it would be, or was it about what you anticipated?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Well, man, there’s a lot of stuff that I didn’t, because I’ve watched the show as time passed, but I’ve not been on it fully. And I was like, man, I’m just going to go out and try out. And I went through all this, I didn’t know there were so many different steps in American Idol that you had to go through. I thought you just went up there and auditioned and that was it. But, no, you’ve got to go through a lot of stuff, a lot of not being able to sleep, and it’s hard work. And everybody that’s been on American Idol, it’s passed down to everybody, because I understand what you went through.

QUESTION: What about the summer tour, have you ever seen that in person yourself?

DEXTER ROBERTS: No, sir, I’ve never seen that. I’m looking forward to it.

QUESTION: I was wondering what your plans for the future are? Do you, for instance, think you might move to Nashville to pursue a music career?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Oh yes, ma’am. I’m going to go up to Nashville and hit the road, so I’m going to try my best to launch a big album and to start my career.

QUESTION: So, you do plan on moving to Nashville?


QUESTION: Great. What kind of album would you like to make?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Sort of like Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Craig Morgan, Slash, Eric Church, kind of album.

QUESTION: And could you talk a little bit about the advice that David Cook gave you?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Oh yes, that’s one of the best mentors that we had on the show, I think, because he really stepped out and helped. It was like getting a cheat sheet, really, because he had been in the situation and he knew what I was going through and he was like, “Man, you’re just going to have to get out there and speak to America, really.” And I was like, “Okay, sir. I’m ready to do it.”

QUESTION: This was the competitors’ pick theme this week. How did you feel when C.J. picked Luke Bryan’s “Muckalee Creek Water” for you?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Oh, I was so pumped up about it, because I sing that song all the time in the shower and I think C.J. was just really getting tired of me singing it all the time, and he just wanted me to sing it on national television to get it out of my system. But I’m still going to sing it. I was really excited when I saw that on the list, I didn’t look at anything else, so that’s what I was singing. I knew it right then.

QUESTION: Was it fun for all of you picking songs for each other this week, or was it stressful?

DEXTER ROBERTS: No, it was really easy because we all know which kind of artist we want to be and we’re so close with each other. So it was really easy. And we didn’t want to jeopardize each other and make them sing something way out of the box, so we helped each other out.

SCIFI VISION: What did it first feel like, what thoughts were running through your mind when you first went out on to the stage with the big audience?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Oh, the first time I went out on stage, oh, I remember that I was singing “This Ole Boy” by Craig Morgan, and it was just so surreal. It was so crazy, because thousands and thousands and thousands of thoughts were going through my head at that time. And when I got out on stage I heard the crowd just screaming, and I was like, oh my goodness, this is it. I made it. I made it here. And I thank God about it because he helped me here, and all my fans, that was just amazing and a great opportunity the judges gave me, that opportunity to be on stage and be able to make it where I’ve made it here.

QUESTION: You and C.J. were friends long before Idol, so how did it feel when you found out that both of you had not only auditioned for the show but had made it?

Dexter RobertsDEXTER ROBERTS: Well, see, what happened was we made it in Tuscaloosa at the bus tour, and I’ve known C.J. for a long time, and he walked up, and he was actually late to the auditions. And he had his old Johnson guitar and we stopped and talked for a while, and I told him, I said, “I had a feeling that you were going to be here.” And we just sat and started talking and everything, and he ended up breaking his strings on his guitar. And he walked up to me and he was like, man, my string just broke, and he asked if I had some more. And I was like no. I said, “But once I get through you can borrow mine,” because I was in front of him in the line. But anyway, so I made it through and I went over there and gave him the guitar, and I told him, I was like, I told the guys in the back, back there, I told them, “There’s going to be a guy coming here in a minute and he’s going to be carrying my guitar,” and sure enough he made it. And it was just a great experience for us, being so close, we made it this far.

QUESTION: And do you think that having a friend on the show changed your experience? Did you guys try to out-sing each other each week, or how did that work out?

DEXTER ROBERTS: No, we’ve always just had a real great chemistry with each other. He’s been like a brother to me. We try to help each other out. If we hit a flat note we’ll be like, “Hey, bud, try to do it this way, or try to make your song do this”. And it was a great opportunity. It was awesome. It was fun.

QUESTION: Being a country singer yourself, how did it feel performing each week in front of Keith Urban?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Man, it was sort of intimidating because he’s such a great artist. But I looked at him as, when I went out on stage I didn’t think that I was in a competition. When I get on stage I’d think it was my concert. I tried to go out there and just have fun. And then when I got up there singing it brought me back into reality, like, “Oh, man, there’s the judges. Here it comes.”

QUESTION: Yes. And do the judges give more advice off air than they do during the live shows?

DEXTER ROBERTS: Man, what’s crazy about it, we hardly ever get to talk to them because they’re having to go and do their stuff and do their interviews and stuff, and I bet they got more interviews than we get. But we hardly ever get to talk to them that much. But they do give great advice.

QUESTION: I know that you like to do the anthems; Harry wanted you to go more with the ballads. What are you more comfortable with, and how are you planning on differentiating yourself from the country pack with an album? And do you write your own stuff?

DEXTER ROBERTS: I do write my own stuff, and I write slow songs and I write up to beat, get your ear songs, so I really don’t know. I love singing ballads and I love singing up to beat songs, so I’m just going to have to figure out what best fits me. But I love singing every bit of what stuff that I’ve sung.

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