Music News & Reviews

Idle? Singer Michael Lynche anything but

The 10 finalists from American Idol this year are, front: Katie Stevens; second row: Crystal Bowersox and Aaron Kelly; third row:  Michael Lynche, left, Andrew Garcia, Casey James and Tim Urban; and back row: Didi Benami, left, Siobhan Magnus and Lee DeWyze.
The 10 finalists from American Idol this year are, front: Katie Stevens; second row: Crystal Bowersox and Aaron Kelly; third row: Michael Lynche, left, Andrew Garcia, Casey James and Tim Urban; and back row: Didi Benami, left, Siobhan Magnus and Lee DeWyze.

For a guy who didn't win American Idol, Michael Lynche sure made his fair share of headlines.

He came to the auditions with Idol in the family: His brother, Marque Lynche Jr., was a season three semi-finalist who didn't make it to the top 12.

Then, during Hollywood week, in Michael Lynche's own quest for the semis, his wife went into labor with their first child, a girl they named Laila Rose. The episode provided plenty of drama, as Lynche was stepping out of rehearsals repeatedly for calls from his wife.

On a less happy note, Lynche's father ran afoul of an American Idol confidentiality agreement by telling the media his son had made the top 24, and Lynche reportedly came close to being kicked off the show for the infraction.

Then voters kicked him off the top-9 week of competition, but the judges used their only save to keep him around until he was eliminated in the final four.

But even when he was in jeopardy at No. 9, Lynche had achieved one of the goals of every Idol contestant: making the top 10, meaning he would get to go on the Idols Live tour, which hits Rupp Arena on Saturday night.

"Financially, it's good for you, and the experience of it, and for your own growth as a musician, it's amazing to be on tour and perform in front of that many people," Lynche says. "That's what you always dream about, and you skip a lot of steps when you go on the American Idol tour, as far as the arenas you play and the number of people you get to be in front of.

"A lot of us in the top 10 this year were already working musicians and wanted to get a leg up in our career, so being in the top 10 and going on tour is something to look forward to, and spending the summer doing something great."

Being on tour is something of a relief from performing on Idol, Lynche says.

"The show is a very odd entity," he says. "It's a crazy situation where you go and prepare all week to sing this little tiny snippet of a song, and then you get judged to your face right after you sing it. You don't even think about that part until you get there, and then you think, 'This is just weird.'

"Being on tour is much more like normal life, where you get to build a set and there are ebbs and flows to your set, and you get to know your audience and know your fans. It's a much more normal situation than being on the show."

Idol and Lynche fans will be able to hear him and others on the tour perform live the songs that helped propel them through the competition, and they'll hear some new selections. Among the show favorites for Lynche will be Kate Bush's This Woman's Work, which brought Idol judge Kara DioGuardi to tears and was a case of art reflecting life, because the song is about a man outside the delivery room contemplating impending changes caused by the birth of his child.

Viewers could see that it was hard for Lynche to not be in the room as his daughter was born across the country, but he says he never considered scrapping Hollywood week and going home.

"My wife and I made a choice and set goals and dreamed big," Lynche says. "Part of my job was to do well on the show and push our life ahead. I feel like there is a destiny with my life, and there are certain sacrifices and hard times along the way. But if you're going to be great, you've got to do great things, and some sacrifice is part of that."

And he knows that if his career does take off, there will be more time away from his family.

"You just hope it will all be worth it, if you can hit a home run with it," Lynche says.

He is making plans for life after the tour and Idol.

"I've been building my team while on tour," Lynche says, "not that there's a lot you can do on tour. You want to focus and enjoy it because it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

The tour has been dogged by cancellations because of low ticket sales — although Lexington has been one of the tour's strongest markets, according to Rupp Arena officials — and a widespread feeling that the ninth season was a weak one for Idol.

"It's silly," Lynche says of the criticism. "Every season is different, and you can't compare season to season, especially because the real determination is what you do with this after, what your career is like after the show."

In that respect, there is one Idol alum whom Lynche would love to emulate.

"You look at Daughtry, and he ended up at No. 4 like I did, and I just admire his work ethic and his passion. But it's all different, so you just have to work hard and believe in yourself."

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