Even though they liked me, they were nice to me, and they wanted me to do well on the show, they were willing to portray me and my dad in a way that made it really difficult for all of my family.
I was just like, “I don’t like attention, but here I am in front of millions of people, and now they’re involving my family and creating tension.
They don’t know how it’s affecting my family’s personal relationships. They don’t know how this is affecting us, and how people look at us.
Then you’re stuck having to be the “character,” as well as my dad become the character, and my family. I have to sign a contract and whatnot to say of confidentiality and stuff, so I feel helpless, like I can’t do anything, because they have the power. If you say anything that will get them in trouble, then you’re going to be in huge trouble, and get sued, and all that.
They’re all at stake because of my choice that I made." data-reactid="41"A lot of the tension came because of the stress that the show created. Then you’re stuck having to be the “character,” as well as my dad become the character, and my family.
They wanted to have something controversial to talk about. I was young, and I was not good at speaking up for myself, so if the producers wanted to make something dramatic and to look a certain way, they would just do it. They’re all at stake because of my choice that I made.
How did that affect you, mentally and emotionally, especially when you were dealing with a high-pressure talent competition at the same time? It was almost like I felt like my siblings were sometimes like, “Why did you go audition for that show?” We’re all so different from each other, we even sing different types of songs, but we have that connection because we understand each other without having to really try to explain ourselves. I think that there’s something about reality TV shows that’s a very interesting, unique experience, and it has its own kind of PTSD that comes with it. Then everyone feels like they know you, and they know what you are, and they know how to treat you, and have certain expectations. Well, Melinda was like, “There’s a therapist who specializes in people who have been on reality TV shows.I’ve met with him, and you guys should meet with him too.” I’m like, “Oh my goodness! I thought I was weird.” And they’re like, “Nope, we’re all going through this.” That’s so refreshing — to know that we’re not going crazy.To have people you can relate to is really important in life. So other people — like Melinda Doolittle, David Cook, Kris Allen, Brooke White — when we get together, we’re all able to talk, and it’s like, “Oh my gosh, you’re going through the same thing I am! You’re basically a character on a TV show, and parts of it are worked so that it fits the TV show — but they’re using your personal life.I thought I was the only one who was feeling like that! So you become this character, but it’s with your own name, parts of who you actually are, but other parts that are portrayed in a way that you’re not actually. But there’s still certain things about us that we still had certain little tics that we’re paranoid about certain things. Eight, nine, 10, 11 years later, we’re still kind of stuck in some of those patterns of thinking. " data-reactid="34"How have you personally dealt with that?I recall one of the kinds of assumptions written about you — because you were so young and seemed shy — was that you had a what they call a “dadager,” or that you were sort of being pushed to do this. People thought my dad had a lot more control than he actually did.