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Ypsi's "Idol" Waiting For What's Next

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2009

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Wednesday's (Aug. 26) “American Idols Live!” tour stop at The Palace of Auburn Hills is going to mean a little bit more to Matt Giraud than the rest of the “American Idol” posse.

“That’s going to be crazy,” says the 24-year-old Ypsilanti-raised singer, who finished fifth in the eighth season of “Idol.” “I used to play shows around there, around The Palace, in little bars and stuff. It’s gonna be a huge honor to walk back in there and know all your friends and family and music teachers, people who believed in you from the start, they’ll all be there.

“So it’s gonna be a cool night. It’s gonna be an emotional night for me, but it’s gonna be cool.”

Giraud, who was living and working in western Michigan before “Idol” in Louisville, Ky., says the “Idols Live!” show is a kind of “redemption” for him, allowing Giraud to show “a different side” of himself — particularly his piano-playing — than what he was able to present on the TV program.

“I bust out some Jerry Lee Lewis type of chops and people are like, ‘Oh, that’s what you do,’ ” says Giraud, whose repertoire includes Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle,” Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind,” the Fray’s “You Found Me” and a duet with Scott MacIntyre on Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It.”

“I kinda kick myself for not doing more of that in the show, but you have to follow the genre. But I’m just blessed to have this opportunity, and the tour’s been great so far.”

Giraud does not have a recording contract yet; 19 Entertainment, which produces “Idol,” still can exercise an option to sign him. But he has been writing songs and assembling a business and legal team around him to help with whatever path the future holds. He’s also signed on as the host of “Make the Cut,” an online music reality contest that’s currently taking submissions at www.yobi.tv.

“I’ll work with (the contestants), mentor them — I’m kind of like the (Ryan) Seacrest and Simon (Cowell) in one,” Giraud explains. “I paid close attention to how it was done when I was on the show and how we were spoken to and dealt with, so I think I’ll channel my inner Paula (Abdul) and be the nicer, nurturing kind of guy for these people.”

Matt Giraud is part of “American Idols Live!,” which plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 26) at the Palace, Lapeer Road east of I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $40.50, $55.50 and $69.50. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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