Terry Morrow: 'American Idol's' Janelle Arthur talks of love for Dolly Parton, Nicki Minaj

Janelle Arthur of Oliver Springs thought she’d be eliminated before now on “American Idol.”

Janelle Arthur of Oliver Springs thought she’d be eliminated before now on “American Idol.”

Oliver Springs resident Janelle Arthur will survive with or without “American Idol.”

“I never thought I’d get (into the top 10),” she said in an interview this week. “I am used to rejection. I mean, I tried out for ‘American Idol’ three times, and this is as far as I got in that amount of time.

“To me, ‘American Idol’ is a stepping stone ... I can’t let it stop me from moving on in my career. No matter what, this is just the beginning.”

With the overwhelming support of judges, she managed to overcome open auditions against thousands of competitors, and dozens of rivals in the Hollywood and Las Vegas rounds. Until, finally, after three years of auditioning for “Idol,” she landed smack dab in the top 10 this season.

Without the insincere humbleness of a Taylor Swift, the country crooner from East Tennessee, nonetheless, confesses during an interview this week that she thought making the top 10 might not be in her grasp, despite praise being thrown her way by the judges and fans on the Internet.

“There were moments when I knew, I absolutely knew, I wasn’t going to make it,” Arthur, 23, said.

“I don’t know what it was. I just felt like I wasn’t going to make (the top 10). I just knew this (singing career) was what I was supposed to do, even when I’m tired or feeling a little sick.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise — or benefit — she has found on the show is the support of rapper Nicki Minaj. Arthur never thought Minaj would emerge as her biggest fan.

Minaj has called Arthur “my marshmallow” and “my country superstar” before heaping niceties upon her.

“I never thought in a million years she’d be (a fan),” Arthur said. “I worried about her in the beginning because we’re so different in our styles of music. It’s so surprising she has taken such a liking to me.”

Arthur, a former Dollywood performer, is eager to do a Dolly Parton tune on the show. So far, she says, none of the theme weeks include any of Parton’s songs.

Despite being so far away from home, Arthur isn’t homesick. Her mother, father and aunt are in Hollywood with her and cheering her from the audience.

Singing for the judges and — as of last week — a studio audience only gives Arthur “an awesome feeling.”

Certainly Arthur “gets nervous” but she said she is also confident in where her career is taking her now. “This is what I’m meant to do,” she said.

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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Comments » 1

keepitreal4vols writes:

Janelle saying she loves both Dolly Parton and Niki Minaj is like me saying I love sex and abstinence. Both are complete opposites.

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