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Jordin Sparks Speaks on Dark, Frightening CSI Role

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Things are about to get dark for Jordin Sparks.

While we normally see the performer well groomed and polished, the American Idol champion is anything but in her guest appearance on tonight’s chilling episode of CSI.

The story concerns multiple murders that all happen in the same motel room. Is there a serial killer using the room or is there something more ghostly in this particular space? Our CSI team is tasked to find out and one of them may actually fall under its spell.

Sparks’ part in the episode? Without spoiling too much, she's involved in the happenings in the motel room and, in short, we’ll see Sparks in ways we never have before.

I jumped on the phone with the self-proclaimed CSI fan to talk about how it felt to shoot some very dark and intense scenes, as well as whether she acted like a fan girl with any of her favorite actors from the long-running CBS series.

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TV Fanatic: This is very different than what we’re used to seeing so how did you approach the role, especially since I’m guessing this is not a situation you’ve been in in your life?

Jordin Sparks: Exactly. Exactly. First I have to say, I’m such a huge fan of the show. Before any of this happened I have a boxed set of the seasons up to that point when I was fourteen years old and after I did my homework I was watching CSI. When I was cleaning my room I had CSI on. If I was up on a road trip I was watching it so to be on the show was definitely a dream come true for me. My fourteen-year-old self was just jumping up and down the entire time and it was definitely a check off my bucket list.

It definitely isn’t a situation that I have been involved in ever in my life so I didn’t quite know how to approach it. It was like, ‘Okay. They need somebody who’s scared.’ I’ve been scared and I was like, ‘Okay. I just need to amplify that times a hundred probably,’ because it’s probably way more scarier than what I’ve every felt.

The director [of the episode, Louis Milito], he was so great and if there was something that he needed more of he would call up and be, ‘Okay. Well, try to amp that up a little bit more,’ or he would say, ‘Okay, this is kind of what I’m thinking she’s thinking in her head,’ and so I would try and pull from there. So it was really a collaborative effort to try and get the craziness out and so I’d scream and look crazy and be so intense. It was different for me but I was so up for the challenge. I was so ready for it.

TVF: Since you were a fan of the show, did you approach the show or did your people let them know that you were interested? Or did they just come to you and it was happenstance?

JS: Actually, I was auditioning for something else and the room that I was in had a whole bunch of binders with the scripts in it from CSI and I flipped out just seeing that on the wall. That’s how big of a fan I am because it was just paper and I was freaking out that it was there. And one of the women that was in the room with me was like, ‘Hey. I work on that also,’ and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. Put in a good word for me,’ not thinking anything would happen.

Then, a couple weeks later my agency was like, ‘Hey, we secured an audition for you for CSI,’ and I completely screamed and jumped on the bed and went crazy. So that’s how it came about. I went in and I auditioned and then they called me back and said that I got it and I screamed and jumped on the bed some more.

TVF: Since you are obviously a big fan, who of the cast did you kind of fan girl out over, even if it was just inside?

JS: Oh, man. I totally had a crush on George when I was younger so when I was sitting face to face with him I was like, ‘Whoa. This is not happening right now.’ But it was funny because we were sitting at the interrogation table and, I don’t remember, they were changing the light or something, and all of a sudden I can’t remember who did it first but George and I started quoting Napoleon Dynamite and it was one of the best moments of my life.

TVF: Do you creatively have to go to a different space when you’re doing singing and acting or does it all come from the same kind of creative center?

JS: I guess I feel like for me it’s the same, although my comfort level when I do music is way higher than it is when I’m acting because I’m so green. But at the same time, I definitely think that it does come from the same place. When I’m doing my music and I’m singing and it’s an emotional song I emote that through what I’m singing and through the notes that I’m singing.

When you have to do something emotional you kind of have to pull through the same space, although with acting it’s somebody else’s world. You know what I’m saying? Like if it was somebody else’s issue or problem. When I’m doing my music if I cry if I’m singing it’s because it’s personal because it happened to me. When it’s acting I’m in somebody else’s head and then I have to try and pull from an experience that I’ve had so it is the same as in with music sometimes.

TVF: I know we’re getting new music from you. We’ve had a single released I think in August and there’s an album coming. How does it feel like since there have been some delays in getting the music out, right?

JS: Oh man. It’s like one step forward, two steps back but at the same time I know the direction that I want to go. I just want to do really good music whether or not you can hear it this year I have no idea. But I’ve got some good stuff. I’ve worked with some great people. With the doors opening up on the acting side for me, I can’t not walk through them. I have to go through those doors so it’s been really nice at least with not being able to put the music out right now. At least I get to open myself up to a whole different world and have fun doing this as work and have my fans still be able to see me and be able to go to something and be able to see me at the same time.

But with music, music will always be my number one love where acting is definitely kind of nudging itself ahead currently right now but music will always be my lifeline and my number one so we’ve just got to get all this timing right with everything and all the production and the promo and everything.

CSI airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Sparks is also in the movie, Dear Secret Santa, airing on Lifetime on November 30 at 8 p.m.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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CSI Quotes

Nick Stokes: Open bottle of Vodka, a used glass. What do you think; one last drink?
Greg Sanders: One last laugh.

Dr. Robbins: A racist gets stabbed before he can drown. Some would call that justice.
Ray Langston: We still have to call it murder.

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