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'American Idol' winner Fradiani likes changes in the show's tour

August 06, 2015 1:00 pm • By Kevin C. Johnson

The penultimate season of the long-running “American Idol” saw a few changes — dropping Randy Jackson as a mentor, the addition of Scott Borchetta, the introduction of the “fan save.” Changes are coming to the touring “American Idols Live!,” as well.
For the first time, the live show, coming Monday night to the Peabody Opera House, will showcase the previous season’s top five finalists, including winner Nick Fradiani, instead of the usual top 10.

Also, the band has returned to the live show after taking a year off, the tour is playing to its smallest venues ever, and choreography and video screens have been dropped.

Fradiani, whose new video and single is “Beautiful Life,” says he likes how the tour is playing out this time around. “It seems like you’re getting to know each person on an individual level more than before,” he says.

“There’s more individual performances. Before, there were more group performances with the dancers. Now you’re going to get to see each person as the artist they want to be. I think it’s great. I don’t know if I’d (have) been able to do the dances.”

He says the tour so far has been a lot of fun, and crowds have been receptive. But he was nervous. “I only had two days to rehearse. The others had a week. I had a bunch of other stuff I had to do.”

Such is the life for the “American Idol” winner, who had performance commitments to keep and preparations for his debut album to handle, above and beyond what the other finalists had to worry about.

It’s still something that Fradiani says hasn’t really sunk in yet.

“The idea of being one of 14 ‘American Idol’ winners is pretty insane,” he says. “But winning now is different from winning eight years ago.”

He says if he’d won in the earlier days of the show, he could count on selling 500,000 copies of his upcoming album. “I know that’s not the case now,” he says.

But the changes that came for his season of “Idol,” including being able to record for Borchetta’s label, Big Machine Records, definitely helped.

“He has invested a lot of time and money into the first album,” says Fradiani. “But there’s a lot of work ahead of me to make it what I want it to be. There’s a lot of writing to do and approaching songwriters.

“He’s giving me opinions that are positive and negative. I get him, and he gets me.”

Fradiani says fans can listen to “Beautiful Life,” which was used as part of the official FIFA Women’s World Cup video, to get a real sense of who he is as an artist. He didn’t write the song, but he says the genre will be similar.

“I’m going for Top 40 sounds,” he says. “It’s going to be pop. But I have a rock sensibility. We’ll see. I’m not gonna obsess over the genre.”