USA Today spoke with Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis soon after the sixth season of American Idol ended.
Here's what each had to say about Kelly Clarkson and more...
What do you think has made Kelly so successful?
Jordin: She really set the standard. She was a total raw talent, and I love her edge. She's my favorite.
Blake: I think she has one of the best voices in the record industry. And she reminds me of my mom, with her nice bluesy quality.
Did she give you any advice?
Jordin: I met her at the finale. She basically just told me that it's sucha cool experience and to have fun with it.
Blake: She's actually right across the way right now, so I'm gonna try to go over there and say hi.
So, how did you brace yourself for the judges'comments every week?
Jordin: It's always such a blur -- I kind of didn't hear what they said sometimes.
Blake: I never listened to them, honestly. And a lot of their stuff is a bunch of malarkey.
Was it frustrating to not get free rein on song choice?
Jordin: Sometimes -- when there were too many songs I wanted to sing. You can only pick one, so that was hard.
Blake: Yeah, [the] restrictions suck. I don't really like singing other people's stuff.