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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Encore Presentation: "American Idol" Finalists

Aired May 27, 2007 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight -- another star is born.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN SEACREST, "AMERICAN IDOL": The winner of "American Idol," Jordin Sparks!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now primetime exclusive -- the new "American Idol" winner.

(MUSIC)

KING: Runner-up, Blake Lewis.

(MUSIC)

KING: And the eight other finalists, including Sanjaya.

(MUSIC)

KING: all together for the first time since A reported 74 million-plus people voted to make Jordin the youngest "American Idol" ever.

They'll take your calls and who knows, they might sing, too. It's all about "Idol" next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. She's all hamabameenitha (ph).

We have got a gang of them here and we begin with the winner, season six "American Idol" winner is Jordin Sparks out of Glendale, Arizona.

JORDIN SPARKS, "AMERICAN IDOL" WINNER: Yes.

KING: Daughter of a football star, former football star of the New York Giants. Before we start, let's get a look at Jordin's big moment on this week's finale. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEACREST: After a world record vote of 74 million, the winner of "American Idol" 2007 is -- Jordin Sparks!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPARKS: Oh, look at my mom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Stay tuned. Maybe we will show it again. Jordin Sparks is our six season "American Idol" winner. What was it like?

SPARKS: It was crazy. Watching that just kind of makes my stomach kind of have butterflies all over again. But it was really cool because I have been wanting to do it for so long. I remember telling my mom when I was 12 that I wanted to be on the stage at finale and then standing there singing that song and looking at her and my dad and the rest of my family and singing it, it was just -- it was crazy.

KING: All right, truth.

SPARKS: Truth.

KING: Before they announced the name.

SPARKS: Yes.

KING: Ryan Seacrest was standing there. Did you expect to win?

SPARKS: I think honestly, in all honesty, Blake and I are completely different performers.

KING: Obviously.

SPARKS: So the night before, it could have been anybody's game. So I honestly had no idea what was going to be on there.

KING: If they mentioned him, it would not just be the same but would you not have been shocked?

SPARKS: I would have been so happy for him. I mean, we are all such great friends. And he's amazing. I'm one of his biggest fans and he's one of mine. So it's really great.

KING: You said you always wanted to get on the show?

SPARKS: I did. When it started, I've been watching it since I was 12 when it was starting out. And I loved the show. I'm a die- hard fan of it. So when I turned 16, I was more excited to audition for "American Idol" than drive a car. So pretty cool.

KING: What do you think is its magic?

SPARKS: You know, I don't know. What grabbed me is just the people. You grow to love them over the course of the season. And of course, they are singing, and I love to sing and I was just like oh, that's so ...

KING: Why do you think the audience loves it so much, the viewer? SPARKS: You know, well, from being one, I, just watching it, you can't wait until the next week to watch the rest of it, to see what they are going to do. To see what they are going to bring out next, what's going on to go on. Who is going to be voted off. Stuff like that, you just can't wait for it.

So, I don't know. It's just an obsession, I guess. You either get it or you don't.

KING: It's tricky. They choose the stuff for you, right?

SPARKS: What do you mean? Like what stuff?

KING: The selections you are going to sing?

SPARKS: No, we do.

KING: You pick all your selections every week.

SPARKS: Yeah.

KING: There's no -- They don't tell you what they want you ...

SPARKS: Well, it depends if they get cleared or not. You have to go through that whole process of picking a song that people will let you sing. Some people don't want you to sing their songs on the show and you have to go through that first. And then you choose it. So, you get to choose it.

KING: All right. We will take a quick look at the talent that landed you the coveted spot on "American Idol." Let's watch Jordin Sparks at work.

(MUSIC)

SPARKS: Oh, I didn't get to see the pyro.

KING: You didn't get to see what?

SPARKS: I was wondering what was so hot behind me. I didn't ...

KING: Oh, you didn't see the pyrotechnics?

SPARKS: Yeah. I felt them but I didn't get to see them until just now.

KING: Have you been dealing with paparazzi yet?

SPARKS: You know what, yeah. We went to the like the celebration party at the end and I pulled up in the car and there were people taking pictures and it was -- it was just so weird. And I was walking to the car afterwards and people taking pictures and people standing outside places where they know I am going to be. I'm like how do they know where I am going to be at? But you know, whatever. It's cool.

KING: Are you ready for this?

SPARKS: You know, I guess nothing can really prepare you for this. I have been wanting to do it for so long and now I'm getting a chance to do it, and I'm kind of taking it step by step, day by day. So, I don't know. We'll see.

KING: Do you think of all of the great things that you get. What do you get? You get a recording contract, right?

SPARKS: Yes.

KING: And you've already recorded right? You've done a CD when you were 13?

SPARKS: I did. See, I had been wanting to do it for so long, I did a CD and was just trying it all out and I loved doing it so then I just continued working towards it and it turned out pretty well.

KING: After winning this you get a recording contract?

SPARKS: Right.

KING: What else do you get?

SPARKS: Well, we got a car. We got a Ford Fusion - I mean, a Ford Mustang. Just kidding. Ford Fusion is what I drove before this.

But we get to go on tour and we get to go sing and tour and it's like, get to see how we like it, get a feel for it and stuff like that. And the recording contract, I get to put a CD out, I think, before Thanksgiving. So it's going to be crazy.

KING: Still live in Glendale, Arizona?

SPARKS: Yeah, I do. Pretty much. I have not been back since I won yet, so - yeah. I think I'm going to be living there.

KING: Are you going to have to move?

SPARKS: You know, I love Arizona so much but I don't think it is going to be the same there because it's so crazy. I mean, there's a star with my name on it at the mall I used to work at. So I don't think it is ever going to be normal there anymore.

But I think I have a condo out here. That's so weird to say. That's so weird to say. I'm sorry, I just never thought I would say I have a condo here. And I'd be living ...

KING: You have a boyfriend yet?

SPARKS: No, I do not.

KING: You sang at Pat Tillman's memorial service?

SPARKS: Yes, I did. I did.

KING: Never forget him.

SPARKS: Never.

KING: What do you want, what is your goal? All right. You won this. Who do you want to be? You want to be a recording star? You want to be a concert tour, you want to be, what? You want to be Broadway?

SPARKS: I want -- Singing is my first love. It is my number one priority. That's what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to be able to sing and I want to be able to touch people through my music and I want to be able to bring uplifting and positive and encouraging music to people out there and to little girls and to little kids and let them know they can do anything they want to do if they put their minds to it. And I just -- I don't know, I want to sing and maybe a little acting and stuff on the side.

KING: All right. When you saw "Dreamgirls," did you want to do that?

SPARKS: Yes. Amazing movie. Amazing - I mean, it was acting and singing.

KING: There's a ...

SPARKS: And it was a movie star thing, like, everything was put into one. And I was like, hey, that would be cool.

KING: That's an "American Idol" loser.

SPARKS: She wasn't a loser. We are all winners. We are all winners. Because, see, because she won an Oscar. You don't have to win to be successful. So that's what is so great about it.

KING: How nervous were you?

SPARKS: Very. But as you saw, Blake was right in my ear. He was like, hey, will you sing the words with me if I forget it? And I was like, only if you sing them with me. So we were like trying to calm each other down. It calmed me down at least. It was good. It was good.

KING: Stay there. Jordin is going to be with us through the whole show. We have got a greenroom and a makeup room full of "Idol" finalists and non-finalists and next to finalists. Take a look at who is up next. It's runner-up Blake Lewis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be there in a minute, I think, Larry. Blake's fixing his hair.

KING: Get out here. Come on, we have got a live show to do, Blake. Stop it.

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (MUSIC)

KING: No stage big enough to hold him. Blake Lewis, the "American Idol" runner-up. Jordin Sparks remains with us. Was it sad to -- well, can't say lose. Was it sad to be runner up?

BLAKE LEWIS, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: No, it was perfect. I picked her as the winner in the top 24. In the top 24, I said Jordin Sparks is going to win "American Idol."

KING: Why?

LEWIS: She has so much charisma, just an amazing performer, amazing talent. She's beautiful on camera and off camera.

KING: So when Ryan, right before he mentioned the name, you expected it to be her?

LEWIS: Yes. To me I'm first place at number two.

KING: And by the way, a lot of number twos have done all right.

LEWIS: Yeah. Yeah.

KING: Why did you enter this?

LEWIS: Actually, I had never seen the show before. My friend called me the day before. Actually seven hours before. Said he would pick me up and I went and auditioned.

KING: Where?

LEWIS: Seattle.

KING: That's where you're from?

LEWIS: That's where I'm from, yeah.

KING: And when you made it, did it then become obsessive to win or to keep going?

LEWIS: Not at all. I actually just wanted to perform well every day. As soon as I got in the top 24. Each week I will just look at it and whatever song I get, I will just try and rock that song.

KING: Let's take a look at one of Blake's great performances on "American Idol." Watch.

(MUSIC)

KING: Simon warned you not to be too cocky. What did you make of that?

LEWIS: I -- Did he say that?

KING: Yeah. LEWIS: Oh, man. I bite my tongue a lot and I never really listen to him.

KING: You didn't listen to him?

LEWIS: Yeah. Well, I think him and I are a lot alike. I think we are both shameless and tactless.

KING: What did you think of Simon, Jordin?

SPARKS: You know what ...

KING: You won already. You can say anything.

SPARKS: No, no, no. But seriously, I liked Simon. Because he's not afraid to say what people are thinking. Like, you know, you may be thinking it but Simon will go ahead and say it and will tell you, so ...

LEWIS: Honest.

SPARKS: Yeah. Totally.

KING: All right. You wanted it for a long time, and now you got it. Did you want it for a long time? Did you want to be a star? Did you want to be a singer?

LEWIS: Yeah, yeah, I have been working hard at it for seven years, so ...

KING: How come you have never seen "American Idol"?

LEWIS: I don't watch a lot of television, to be honest.

SPARKS: Sorry.

LEWIS: She was always like, hey, do you remember that one time on "American Idol." I'm like no, I don't.

SPARKS: And I'm like why, why, why not?

KING: What do you get for runner-up?

LEWIS: You know, I think we both got cars and ...

KING: You get a recording deal too?

LEWIS: I don't. Hopefully I will get one.

KING: What do you want to do with your career?

LEWIS: I really want to make the album that I've -- I started working on one before "American Idol," and I hope to finish it and get connected with the right producers and the right creative team that will let me have a little bit of creative control and make the album the best ... KING: What kind of songs do you like to sing?

LEWIS: Lots of stuff that's jazz influenced. A lot more melodic music, pop, funk, rock. Stuff that will make you get off your feet.

SPARKS: Frock.

LEWIS: Frock.

KING: How far do you think Jordin is going to go?

LEWIS: She is going to do amazing.

SPARKS: Thank you.

LEWIS: You're welcome.

KING: This thing between the two of you is genuine?

SPARKS: Yeah.

LEWIS: Yeah. Everyone has been so positive. The producers and like everyone on the crew at "American Idol" is just like this year everyone is so amazing and we all get along great. We are all going on tour, which is good. I don't know about the end of tour but, I mean ...

SPARKS: They will let you know.

KING: How many of you tour? Ten?

SPARKS: Yes. Ten of us.

LEWIS: Ten of us tour. We are doing 64 dates maybe, I think.

KING: Wow.

SPARKS: Yeah.

LEWIS: A guy bus, a girl bus. And four months.

KING: So you are going to make some money right away?

LEWIS: Hopefully. I hope so.

KING: They have to pay you, right?

SPARKS: Right.

LEWIS: Yeah. Got to make some cash.

KING: You've got a clean-cut image. Why the tattoos?

LEWIS: I love art. I love good art. I'm getting my whole ...

KING: Why not put it on canvas. LEWIS: Because I can't draw.

SPARKS: That's a good I one. Good one.

KING: Good. More talent up next. Let's check in with the two guests who are making some last-minute preparations. One of them made news when's she kissed Simon Cowell. Take us to the break, ladies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't wait to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I'm going to need to talk to her just one second and we will be right back right after this.

KING: Hurry up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEACREST: Melinda Doolittle, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you so much. You did great. You've got a lot to do in the future. A lot of great things are going to happen for you.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

KING: You're watching a very special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Remaining with us, Jordin Sparks, the season six "American Idol" winner and Blake Lewis, the "American Idol" runner-up.

Joining us now is LaKisha Jones, fourth place finisher on "American Idol" season six and Melinda Doolittle, another "American Idol" finalist.

LaKisha, what was the experience like for you?

LAKISHA JONES, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: It was a wonderful experience. I've always wanted to sing and "American Idol" was that platform to allow me to do that. So I was just grateful for the opportunity.

KING: When you don't finish first, do you feel like you lost?

JONES: No, not really. I kind of knew a couple of weeks into it, probably the last three weeks, I thought that Ii couldn't win anyway, so I was like, I'm not going to win, and my confidence went down a little bit. But, no, I don't feel like I've lost anything. I've gained so much.

KING: How did you know you couldn't win?

JONES: I just felt it in my spirit that this wasn't going to be it but it was not the end of the road, so ...

KING: Melinda, what was it like for you?

MELINDA DOOLITTLE, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: Possibly one of the most amazing experiences ever, personally. Just learning more about myself, coming from singing background and stepping out onto that stage and finding a strength that didn't even know was there. So ...

KING: You were a background singer?

DOOLITTLE: Yes, sir.

KING: Backed up other people?

DOOLITTLE: I backed up other people and happily so. I had a blast doing it. So, I just never knew this was another direction I could take.

KING: Was there a point you thought you might win?

DOOLITTLE: There was pint point I thought all of us might win. I mean, this is one of those shows where you never know what is going to happen. Everything is a possibility. You grab onto, you hold on for dear life and you go along for the ride.

KING: LaKisha, you have what, a four-year-old?

JONES: Yes.

KING: Did she watch you?

JONES: Yes, she did, and every time they showed me, she was like, yay, mommy. So she's proud of me, even the way it goes.

KING: What did you think, Jordin, of these two?

SPARKS: I love them. They are both so amazing. And I got close to both of them. And they are both just, they are so great. And they have -- I'm not worried about them at all. They are going to be so amazing.

KING: In other words, if they stay in the business, they are going to make it?

SPARKS: Yeah.

KING: And what did you think of them, Blake?

LEWIS: Love them. I love them.

DOOLITTLE: We love you back, buddy.

KING: Did anybody not like anybody? Come on.

DOOLITTLE: Tell something, keep something. No, we love each other. We love each other. We do. KING: What was the most difficult part of being on "American Idol"? LaKisha?

JONES: Probably the schedule. I have never been used to like being like working like 12-hour days and running and getting up. It was just the schedule probably would be the toughest part for me.

KING: And for you, Melinda?

DOOLITTLE: I might have to agree on that one. I mean, it was seven days a week and ...

KING: Singing and rehearsing? Is that it?

DOOLITTLE: Singing, rehearsing, interviewing, forward shoots, you name it, we did it. So ...

KING: What was hardest for you, Blake? What didn't you like?

LEWIS: You know, I liked every opportunity that I got. I would not take any of it for granted. It was such an amazing journey and experience through this whole entire thing. So, every day I just - I got up and I liked every minute of it, really. I mean, the hardest thing is like 12, 16-hour days and then no time to rehearse your own song.

KING: Jordin, 12, 16-hour days doing what is this.

SPARKS: Well, I mean we have to rehearse and we have got to practice.

We -- it's funny, because people are just like -- you only sing a song on Tuesday once a week. And I'm like, you don't even know the half of it. You only see 10 percent of what goes on.

And Thursdays we wake up and we have to pick our new songs and if you can't, you're still searching for it. And then you're practicing and you're shopping for your clothes. You're -- I don't know, you're just preparing yourself mentally and then you get Sundays, you did the Ford things and it's ...

LEWIS: And she had it worse because she had a few hours of school.

SPARKS: And I had school. So it was just ...

KING: You had to go to school?

SPARKS: Uh-huh. My last day was yesterday so I'm on summer break now.

KING: What, are you going to be a senior?

SPARKS: Yeah. I will be a senior?

KING: Are you going to finish up? SPARKS: Yeah, I'm going to finish. Education is important, I want to and I need to.

KING: So you're going to finish and get your high school diploma?

SPARKS: Mm-hmm.

KING: When they are doing all of this rehearsing and the like and all this pressure, does that add to the pressure of it, LaKisha? When there is so much intensity?

JONES: It does a little bit. I have never done so much singing in my life. Because once you rehearse like on Thursdays and Fridays.

Then, a lot of people don't know we do a full run through of show before the show is actually on. So I think it's ...

KING: Full run through?

JONES: Yeah, we do. We do a full run through so your voice sometimes kind of acts up a little bit on you, yeah.

KING: Melinda, we have an email question for you.

DOOLITTLE: Oh, OK.

KING: It's from Linda in Chicago. "We adore you. We can't wait for you to release an album. What is your next step on a promising career?"

DOOLITTLE: My next step? I'm just sited excited to get the chance to keep on singing for a living and to be able to do what I love.

So I have absolutely no idea what the future is holding at this point. But I am just looking forward to it, whatever's next.

I think first and foremost I might sleep. And then after that I would love to get into writing and start recording.

KING: The judges were concerned about your nerves for a while, weren't they?

DOOLITTLE: They were very concerned about my nerves and rightfully so. I shake ...

KING: You were hyper?

DOOLITTLE: No. I just shake before and after every performance. I just get a little nervous but I'm learning how to calm that down, I hope.

KING: Do you ever have that problem?

SPARKS: Me? Yeah. Melinda knows. Because she was the first person I went to. I was like, Melinda, I am so scared.

KING: You went to her for advice?

SPARKS: Yeah.

KING: She's nervous and you go to her for advice?

SPARKS: Yeah, because then we would calm each other down. Because it was like, OK, I'm not the only person who is nervous. You know what I mean? OK. Maybe not, so ...

KING: One nerve helps another nerve.

SPARKS: Exactly. I guess. Doesn't seem like that would work ...

KING: And Blake, you don't get nervous, right?

LEWIS: No.

KING: No, not the best (ph).

DOOLITTLE: Lucky him.

KING: That's another day in the park, right?

What about you, LaKisha?

JONES: I'm always nervous because I'm just trying to do my best and then I worry about, OK, what are the judges going to say this week or how is the song going to sound this week? Are people voting? So I kind of overanalyze a lot of things.

KING: Up next, the military man who missed a monumental event because of "American Idol." Take us to break, guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to sit next to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get to sit next to everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Larry, we will see you after the break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right!

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEACREST: Ladies and gentlemen, Sanjaya!

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Joining us now, by the way, in the back row, LaKisha and Melinda, we only put them in the back row so we have room here. And Jordin and Blake remain, of course, front row. And joining us now, Chris Richardson and Phil Stacey, both "American Idol" finalists. Who was fifth, who was sixth, who was what?

PHIL STACEY, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: Fifth, six from the way they presented it.

KING: All right. Does it make a difference in the -- none at all.

CHRIS RICHARDSON, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: Not to us.

STACEY: Not to us.

KING: Why did you enter, Chris?

RICHARDSON: I don't know.

KING: You don't know? Why, Chris?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: It has come to this, you finish fifth and you don't know why you entered?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: All right. Chris, I will get back to you.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We will slide into the tough ones. Phil, as Chris contemplates, trying to figure out why he entered, why did you enter?

STACEY: Why did I what?

KING: Enter!

(LAUGHTER)

STACEY: Enter? Oh. Well, actually, it's kind of funny, because I actually had a best friend who was about to get married. And I was going to miss his wedding because I was traveling with the Navy. He wanted me to be best man, I couldn't be there. He got really upset with me. And I was like, is there anything I can do to make it up to you? And he was like, no! He hung up on me.

And then he called me back like a week later and said he would forgive me if I auditioned for "American Idol." And it started from there and then I started joking about it with my wife and she started pushing me to do it and supported me the entire way.

KING: Have you sung professionally?

STACEY: I have been singing with the Navy for the last four years.

KING: What you do mean, in the Navy?

STACEY: In a Navy rock band. I'm the lead singer for a Navy rock band.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: What is the name of the group?

STACEY: Pride. Navy rock band Pride.

KING: And you are going to continue then? You've got how many more years?

STACEY: Yes, sir. This is my fourth year. So my tour ends October, 2008.

KING: And you have got to stay, right? You can't leave for fame?

STACEY: Oh, that's right. You know, why would I want to leave for fame or fortune?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Why? OK. Chris, you have had time to think about it.

(LAUGHTER)

RICHARDSON: Oh, man. I tried out a couple of years prior and didn't even make it past the first rounds. And I just -- persistence. I just wanted to make it.

KING: What changed?

RICHARDSON: I don't know what changed. Because I went in there every single year and I was the same every single year. Maybe I grew as an artist. I don't know. You never know what they are looking for every time you go into an audition. You just sort of hope it's you.

KING: What was it like doing the show, actually getting on stage?

RICHARSON: It was incredible. I think it was almost everything I ever dreamed of. I would watch it years prior and just -- I would say, I could do that. I could do that. Never would imagine how it would feel. And then we got on the stage. And it was unreal. It was an unreal experience.

KING: What it was like for you, Phil?

STACEY: It was surreal, because I'm a big fan of the show. So you know, I have watched it for five seasons and I voted for five seasons.

KING: You voted?

STACEY: That's right.

KING: Unlike Blake, who didn't know where it was...

(CROSSTALK)

STACEY: That's right. He had no idea. That's right. So I was -- it has been surreal. You know, from the first moment that I saw Ryan Seacrest to even sitting here with you right now. It has just been amazing.

KING: All right. Jordin, give me your assessment of these two. What about Chris?

SPARKS: Why do I have to...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the winner.

SPARKS: I love both of them...

(CROSSTALK)

SPARKS: OK. I love both of them. They are so -- you know, I love everybody but I mean, they are both -- I have different relationships with everyone. I mean, Chris is amazing. He's an amazing songwriter. And he's just an amazing performer. Phil, his voice, I just am like, oh, my gosh. They are both -- like everybody just...

KING: Are you saying that any one of these could have won?

SPARKS: Yes, that's what I'm saying.

KING: Blake?

LEWIS: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: What do you think of Chris and Phil? Be honest.

LEWIS: Amazing. This guy is one of my best friends. So I can't say anything bad about this guy. And yes, he's all right. He's just OK. No, he's amazing voice, amazing performer.

KING: Did friendships develop through this?

LEWIS: Oh, yes.

STACEY: The three of us have lived together for the last two months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two-a-half months.

KING: Now do you get to tour, Phil? Will the Navy let you tour?

STACEY: The Navy has been supportive of this entire experience for me. And I couldn't be more grateful to the Navy. They have approved me to go on the tour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yay!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sweet.

STACEY: Very excited about that.

(APPLAUSE)

KING: Good news tonight..

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Navy.

KING: Made some news. The Navy said OK.

STACEY: They are amazing.

KING: OK. But you have got to go to Alaska for a year after -- no, that's a joke.

STACEY: At least. At least a year.

KING: Northern Alaska. Chris, what is your goal?

RICHARSON: My goal is to hopefully use this experience to have a successful career in music. It's one of my dreams.

KING: You want to write and sing?

RICHARSON: Oh, I would love to. I would love to.

KING: You like writing as much as singing?

RICHARSON: You know what, I would have to say they are on an equal basis. I enjoy doing both. I enjoy writing for other people and myself. But I also just enjoy performing and being a solo artist.

KING: Phil, what is your goal?

STACEY: Well, my goal is certainly to go on the tour. Go back home to my command, Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Rejoin my fellow shipmates who have been standing in the gap for me while I have been gone.

KING: How about after 2008?

STACEY: I hope to carry on this, you now, to do music. Certainly, you know, you get a taste of this and you know, you want to keep tasting it.

KING: You have children?

STACEY: I do. I have two kids, I have two little girls.

RICHARDSON: They are beautiful. KING: All will remain with us. When we come back, a hair- raising pair of "Idol" contestants, Haley, Sanjaya, take us to break, guys.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY SCARNATO, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: We are trying to find out who has better hair.

SANJAYA MALAKAR, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: Oh well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America voted, over 38 million votes. Sanjaya, you are going home tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back now. And joining us, the seventh and eighth place finishers in the "American Idol" 2007. Sanjaya, probably the most polarizing contestant in Season six. and Haley Scarnato, finalist and eighth place finisher.

What did you make about all of the fuss about you, Sanjaya?

MALAKAR: It was awkward. It still is very awkward.

KING: Still is?

MALAKAR: Yes. I mean, I don't know. It's weird.

KING: Was it weird for you?

SPARKS: Me?

KING: Yes, about him. I mean, did you...

SPARKS: Me?

KING: Yes, you.

SPARKS: Oh, sorry, sorry.

KING: I mean, did you think it was kind of weird with all of the attention Sanjaya was getting?

SPARKS: I mean, that's the point of the show. The point is to like -- you watch it and you can't wait for different stories and you can't wait for something. And, Sanjaya, I could not even wait for what he was going to do next. I would be like, what are you going to do? What are you going to do? And it was just -- he surprised me every week.

KING: Before we talk with Haley, let's take a look at what all of the fuss was about. Let's watch Sanjaya.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING, "YOU REALLY GOT ME")

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Who was that?

MALAKAR: Ashley (ph), the crying girl.

KING: Obviously a fan or a fanatic?

MALAKAR: She's a fanatic.

KING: Are you friends with her now?

MALAKAR: I have seen her around. She has been to a couple of my interviews.

KING: How old is she?

MALAKAR: How old is she?

(CROSSTALK)

MALAKAR: Yes, yes, she came to New York and saw me at my -- it's weird.

KING: Haley, what do you make of -- first of the Sanjaya phenomenon?

SCARNATO: Well, you know, we were kind of in a bubble so I didn't hear a whole lot, but after I got booted off, all they wanted to talk about was Sanjaya.

KING: Did that bother you?

SCARNATO: No, not at all.

KING: Come on!

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

SCARNATO: Not really. I kind of started like -- it was just kind of a confusing time for me, I guess. Because it was so random, you know? And you know, personally, on a personal level, I know him very well and he's a sweet kid. And you know, he did really well in this competition.

KING: Why did you enter?

SCARNATO: Why did I enter? "American Idol" is truly a blessing for all of us. It's -- overnight the success that you get. And it's amazing. So it's definitely something that everybody should do as a singer. KING: Where are you from?

SCARNATO: San Antonio, Texas.

KING: By the way, if you're a finalist, can you enter again?

SCARNATO: No.

KING: No?

SCARNATO: No.

KING: If you make the final 10, you can't?

SCARNATO: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're in the bottom 40 -- or in the top 40, you can't.

KING: Top 40 you can't enter again. Why did you enter, Sanjaya?

MALAKAR: Honestly, I entered just because my sister and my cousin entered as well and we just went as a family just to try it out.

KING: Because it was like a lark?

MALAKAR: Yes, just -- it was we were coming to Seattle and we figured we might as well come.

KING: What do you make of the phenomena, Blake?

LEWIS: The phenomena that is Sanjaya?

KING: Yes, what else would you call it?

LEWIS: Extreme publicity.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Did it help the show?

LEWIS: I think so, yes. How could you...

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: Look at that smile! Look at that.

KING: What are your goals? What are your goals?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Infectious.

MALAKAR: I'm definitely going to continue music. I'm definitely going to just -- I don't see myself just as a singer, I see myself as an entertainer so I want to branch out.

KING: Act too?

MALAKAR: Act as well, yes.

KING: And what about you, Haley?

SCARNATO: You know, my true love is to get in the studio and record and make an album. I mean, you know, you can tell a story through a CD and I think that's an amazing, so.

MALAKAR: She's an amazing recorder.

SCARNATO: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARNATO: Thank you, yes, hopefully.

KING: Now you are all going to tour -- you're going to be part of the tour, right?

SCARNATO: Mm-hmm.

KING: Looking forward to that?

SCARNATO: Oh, my gosh, yes. I can't wait.

KING: Seems a little hectic, what, one-night stands?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: I mean, you're going to do it like one night?

SCARNATO: Yes.

KING: Sanjaya, that's not what you meant!

(LAUGHTER)

SCARNATO: See what I mean? But yes -- no, it is going to be amazing. I mean, being back with everybody, you know, works really like a second family.

KING: So far, I'm very impressed. Because this group really gets along.

SCARNATO: Yes.

KING: OK. We will be back. Lots more to go on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

"AC 360" will be hosted tonight by John King. He's standing by in New York-- John.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, what a fun show. I'm enjoying it. Thank you. Ahead on "360," President Bush signed the Iraq spending bill late tonight, but it seems like what everybody is talking about is how two Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, voted. Will it come back to haunt them?

Plus, America's nemesis reappears in Iraq. How the return of Muqtada al-Sadr will make the work of U.S. troops even tougher.

And all good things must come to an end. After ripping Kelly, trumping Donald, and hassling Hasselbeck, Rosie O'Donnell is gone from "The View" for good. We will look back at some of her most outrageous moments. All of that at the top of the hour on "360." Now back to Larry.

KING: Ah diversity, tonight, Mr. King.

JOHN KING: Quite a bit.

KING: John King. He will host "AC 360" at the top of the hour. They don't come any better. When we come back, two more guests await their close-ups. They will join the fun as we go to break. More from the teen who took the top prize, Jordin Sparks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The group is completely assembled. The 10 finalists. They will all be on tour for the sixth season of "American Idol." Joining us now, the ninth and 10th place finishes. They are Gina Glocksen, who finished ninth, and Chris Sligh who finished 10th.

Is 10th good or bad, Chris?

CHRIS SLIGH, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: Tenth is great, man. It's great.

KING: Better than 11th.

SLIGH: It is better than 11th.

KING: Because 11th ain't on the show, 10th is.

SLIGH: Yes. That's true. That's very true.

KING: It was a happy event for you?

SLIGH: It wasn't a happy event. I would not put it like that. I mean, it was -- "American Idol" was a great event, but I would have liked to have made it further, obviously. But 10th place was a great place for me.

KING: What was it like for you, Gina?

GINA GLOCKSEN, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: It was amazing. I have tried out, this was my fourth time auditioning for it, and just to be able to make the tour, it's just a great feeling.

KING: Did you have hopes of going further?

GLOCKSEN: Oh, I wanted to win it.

KING: You felt you should have won?

GLOCKSEN: Well, yes. I mean, you join a competition to win it, not to, you know, become ninth place. But I'm good with nine, I'm touring.

KING: Where are you from?

GLOCKSEN: Chicago.

KING: And you tried before, huh?

GLOCKSEN: Yes, yes.

KING: Four different times.

GLOCKSEN: W ell, this was my fourth time auditioning, yes.

KING: Where are you from, Chris?

SLIGH: I'm from Greenville, South Carolina.

KING: Had you tried before?

SLIGH: Yes, I tried out two years in a row actually, and never made it past the first round. I was kind of like Chris Rich.

KING: Does it kind of bug you to know that Blake not only didn't try, didn't even know what the show was?

SLIGH: No -- you know, it didn't bug me at all.

KING: Just walks in, he's second.

SLIGH: Blake and I actually met the first day of Hollywood. We have a friend in common, Rudy (ph) (INAUDIBLE)...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Hollywood? The Hollywood try-outs?

SLIGH: Yes. Hollywood week. And so we got to know each other. And as soon as I met him, I was like, yes, even though he doesn't know anything about the show, he is going to do really well.

KING: Did you agree that -- Gina, that Jordin was a good pick?

GLOCKSEN: Absolutely. Absolutely. She has that "it" factor that everyone talks about. She's just glowing all the time and she is always on tune. And she's perfect, she's bubbly, she's perfect.

SPARKS: I love you too.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: This friendship, any offered recording contracts other than the one that goes with the winner? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

KING: You got -- you all expect to have recording contracts?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope so.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: All want musical careers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.

KING: So there is no doubt that this is your business?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.

KING: This is not just some lark. Now this friendship thing between all of you.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Come on!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we can make money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are all going to make a group...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Why don't you call it "The 10"? You wouldn't go for that. You're the star.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: What I mean is, this is really -- you really get along as well as we're seeing portrayed here tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

STACEY: What a lot of people don't know is we lived together for like a month before the show even started. So the entire top 24 group got really close. By the time we got down to the top 12, it was like family.

KING: Let's include a call and see what the public might think. Vancouver, British Columbia. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. I heard on a recent TV show that some of the contestants had started to date each other. And if that's the case, who is dating who?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) and Haley -- no, I'm just...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) rumors, let's make them good...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: All right. Gina, are you dating anyone?

GLOCKSEN: I'm engaged, yes. Not to anybody here.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Anybody dating anybody?

(CROSSTALK)

SLIGH: I'm married. I'm dating my wife. She was on the show a couple of times.

KING: I'm not talking about just the top 10. Any of the 40 dating to your knowledge?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

KING: You are married, Chris?

SLIGH: Yes. Been married for four years now, actually.

KING: Any children?

SLIGH: No children.

KING: What did your wife think of doing this?

SLIGH: She was really -- at first she was a little skeptical, but she was very, very excited once I made it to the top 24 and then started progressing. And she was able to be featured on the show so it was a great -- she is great. She's incredible.

KING: Who are you going to marry, Gina?

GLOCKSEN: I'm Gina.

KING: Oh, I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haley.

KING: Haley.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm known for not being known for my name on the show. It works.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Hey, wait a minute. I've got 10 people. It's Friday night. Don't rile me!

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is Larry about?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: OK, Phyllis...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We don't even have a Phyllis. That's when you're really losing it. Who is your fiancee?

SCARNATO: Bobby, he's back at home in San Antonio.

KING: What does he do?

SCARNATO: He's in sales.

KING: Getting married soon?

SCARNATO: January 5th.

(APPLAUSE)

KING: Will that be -- the tour will be over?

SCARNATO: Yes.

KING: Are you going to invite all of these people too.

SCARNATO: Definitely. Every single one.

KING: More "Idol" time ahead in our next segment. As we go to break, a look back at some past "American Idol" winners. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Coming up next week on LARRY KING LIVE, former first lady Nancy Reagan on the just-published Reagan diaries and what they reveal about the man who adored her, President Ronald Reagan. That's a week from Thursday, May 31st, on LARRY KING LIVE.

We are back with our final moments. By the way, you're under 18, right?

SPARKS: Yes.

KING: Anybody else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sanjaya.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sanjaya.

MALAKAR: I'm 17.

KING: And Sanjaya. Do they keep you separate from the over 18s?

SPARKS: No.

KING: No?

MALAKAR: They keep me separate because my guardian is a woman and we can't be -- my guardian is my mom. So...

KING: Oh, you have a guardian has to be with you. I got you.

Coral Springs, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi, you guys are awesome. I'm a huge fan.

GROUP: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is for Blake. Blake, I want to ask you, what did Jon Bon Jovi say about your rendition of "You Give Love a Bad Name"?

LEWIS: Oh, before I sang it, he said I've got big balls.

(LAUGHTER)

LEWIS: And afterwards, actually, I didn't get to talk to him but I talked to the rest of the band. And he liked it. Richie Sambora loved it. And, yes.

KING: He's a great guy.

LEWIS: Yes.

KING: Yes. Anything...

(CROSSTALK) KING: Can all of you sing something in tune here? We have got about a minute.

(ALL OF THEM SING DIFFERENT NOTES)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): This is LARRY KING LIVE.

(LAUGHTER)

KING (singing): LARRY KING LIVE.

That's real good. Let's make up a song. You! You're the songwriter. Where's the song -- you!

RICHARDSON: What?

KING: Make up a song! I don't want to put pressure on you, Chris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No pressure at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you all want to sing?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's his anniversary in a week.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy anniversary!

KING: Next...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friday.

KING: Next Friday we will be 22 years old, this program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.

(APPLAUSE)

KING: We have only got 15 seconds left. Hum it out.

(SINGING)

KING: Thank you all very much! Congratulations to all of you.

(APPLAUSE)

On Wednesday's show, we asked you, who do side with in today's big fight on "The View," Rosie or Elisabeth? Fifty-six percent of you said Rosie, 44 percent said Elisabeth. So Rosie won the poll, but quit.

(LAUGHTER) KING: My guest -- Monday night is Memorial Day, it will be the CBS News correspondent who was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq last Memorial Day, Kimberly Dozier. That bomb killed her two crewmembers and she has had more than 25 operations since.

So our text question tonight is: Do you think war correspondents should be embedded with troops? Text the vote on your cell phone to CNNTV, that's 26688. Text KINGA for yes, KINGB for no. And we'll tell you how you voted Monday night. And you can e-mail questions to our guests at cnn.com/larryking.

And now, John King, in for Anderson Cooper.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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