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Monday, February 27, 2012

Chase Likens Speaks: "They've just had other plans for me"

Friday was a pretty fun day for me. I spent most of the morning and afternoon in Point Pleasant talking to Chase Likens’ family and friends. And then on my way home, in the parking lot of an abandoned gas station, I finally got to talk to Chase Likens himself.

Some of my interview with him ran in Saturday’s “Herald-Dispatch.” But Chase had more to say about his reaction to making the Top 24, not getting a lot of camera time and especially about his family and his friends at Marshall University, where he’s a theater performance junior.

So here is our interview in its entirety…

So we didn’t see very much of your reaction last night. Tell me your reaction when you heard you made the Top 24.

“My eyes were a little glassy what they did show of me. I was overjoyed and so excited and at the same time I just couldn’t believe what was actually happening. It was like, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, but the best Twilight Zone you could imagine. What the cameras didn’t get was my disbelief in talking to Steven Tyler afterwards and I just remember repeating myself, are you serious? Because there was a lot riding in that performance and it wasn’t up to my standards as a performance.

I think they’ve just had other plans for me since the beginning. They’ve just decided not to feature me. They do this from year to year. They feature some and they don’t feature others. Kris Allen was never featured until he made the live shows won the show. So it’s not in anyway deterring me that they haven’t featured me. I don’t have as many followers as some of the other contestants but I’m not letting that worry me. I love them all to death.

So sheer joy. The most raw emotion came over me that day when they told me I was making the Top 24.”

You mentioned not getting much camera time. So what do you have to do Tuesday night to really introduce yourself to America?

“It’s a challenge and a blessing at the same time because if they haven’t shown you very much that doesn’t necessarily mean America hates you, it doesn’t necessarily mean America likes you. It’s basically an opportunity for a fresh start next week in giving the audience who I really am. I think what I’m going to try and focus on is the performing aspect because as I and others have noted throughout this whole process, I think my overall stage presence and charisma has been what’s carried me through. Everyone has a voice. That just goes without saying. You have to have a great voice then to a superb voice in this competition to even be where I’m at. So for that alone, I’m blessed. I think what’s going to make me stand out—my charisma, my stage presence. The overall performance aspect of the song that I’m going to do. I think that’s what’s going to help set me apart from everyone else.”

Everyone I talk to says that you are a real cool customer, but just how nerve wracking is this whole process? And having to keep this secret for so long?

“I think that’s what’s been the hardest about the whole process, keeping this secret from all your friends. Not so much family, because I sort of let them know. They were so good about keeping it a secret obviously or I wouldn’t be here. The pressure and the intensity that’s placed on you from week to week, it’s insurmountable to say the least. Some of my friends and colleagues have said that I’m cool when I’m under pressure, that’s a façade in some ways, but in other ways it’s not because I’ve known since last year. I auditioned last year and sadly I got cut in the group round last year. But thankfully this year the group round was what I thought made me stand out, pretty much my shining moment on the show. They didn’t choose to feature that. But you get over something like that.

The overall pressure that comes from this process is unbearable at times, but I know why I’m here and I know what I’m put on this earth to do. And as clichéd as that sounds, it could not ring more true to me than when I’m face to face with 23 of the best singers in the world.”

What do you want to say to your friends and family in Point Pleasant and at Marshall?

There’s something I’ve always wanted to say about Marshall that I haven’t gotten the chance to. I support all of our teams. I’ve never been able to promote that. I support all of our teams. I support our academics. I believe that Marshall is one of the greatest universities in the Tri-State area and I thank them for that. And I thank them for the opportunities that they’ve given me. But most of all I just want to thank friends and family back in my hometown of Point Pleasant and friends and future fans from Marshall for all of their undying love and support that has pretty much gotten me to where I am. Because I’ve done shows all around West Virginia ever since I was a little tot. No matter where I go, be it Huntington or Point Pleasant or Gallipolis, Ohio, people have been so great and appreciative of my music and my sound and what I bring to country music and I will be just forever grateful for that.”

Remember that Chase will perform TOMORROW night (Tuesday) along with the other 11 male semifinalists—and that surprise 13th male semifinalist—beginning at 8 p.m. on FOX…

Photos Credit: Michael Becker/FOX