American Idol's Paul McDonald may not have taken season 10's title, but the 26-year-old Alabama native still won big…in the romance department, that is!
During an April 18 visit to Us Weekly's New York City offices, the eliminated contestant dished on his new lady, Twilight's Nikki Reed ("She's supercool," McDonald enthuses) and gave Us a preview of what to expect when he hits the road this summer on the Idols LIVE! concert tour. Read on for more of McDonald's take on Pia Toscano's shock elimination, who he thinks could take the title, and, of course, what keeps his teeth so darn white!
Us Weekly: You had a premonition that your Idol journey would end last Thursday. Tell Us more about why you felt that way.
Paul McDonald: It was one of those feelings like, "[If I finished in] eighth place, I'd be happy with leaving now.' On Thursday, I was like, 'I'm kind of nervous, I think this is it,' and then a few of my friends sent me [similar] messages. It turned out to be alright, though. I had a good run.
Us: Word is you'll start cutting an album on the road during the tour this summer. True?
PM: Possibly. We're still in the Idol craziness, so I'm trying to figure [everything] out. I've got a bunch of new material and I've talked with a bunch of the producers I got to work with on the show and they're excited, because I would always go in there and show them my original stuff in between us doing the covers. We're literally all winners right now because we've met the people that are in the top of the business. It would take years of touring [to make connections otherwise]. That's what I was telling these kids, 'You don't know how good you have it right now. It takes years!'
Us: It's so funny how you call them 'kids.' You're only 26! Do you think the 16-year-olds have a chance to win?
PM: Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina have tons of fans -- it's unbelievable. That age group really supports American Idol and I think they have a really good shot a winning. [Voting] is probably skewed a little bit towards the guys because I have a feeling that younger girls vote most of the time, but you never know. I hope the girls can make it to the end.
Us: How was the morale among the Idols after Pia's elimination?
PM: It kind of all hit us really hard and we weren't expecting that at all. I really don't know why she got voted off, but it was tough for all of us [and] we were all in shock. It took a few days to get over that one.
Us: So, switching gears, are you as sad that the Twilight movies are ending as we are?!
PM: [laughs] I've never watched the movies or read the books. Everyone keeps asking me [now that I'm dating Nikki], so I have to go home and do that, so I don't look like such a fool.
Us: Nikki didn't make that required viewing for you?
PM: Not at all. I think she's kind of happy I haven't seen 'em. I'm a fan of whatever she does, obviously. As soon as she tells me I can watch it, I will.
Us: Us Weekly broke the news that the two of you had struck up a romance over Skype in early April. How have things been going?
PM: She's supercool and I'm really excited about this one. We went to Malibu the other day and hung out a little bit on my day off. On my one day off, I got to relax and be a grownup again. I ate some fried fish, drank a cold beverage. Life is good, I was happy about that. She's been supportive of this whole thing, and I'm supportive of everything she does.
Us: Lastly, our Twitter followers are dying to know how you keep your teeth so white!
PM: My parents always made me use Crest toothpaste growing up -- Advance Vivid White is what I use. Back in the day I used the Crest White Strips. But I think the reason why my teeth look so white because I have a beard. That's what you have to do: Grow a beard and your teeth will look whiter! That's my advice. Crest better give me an endorsement deal!