‘Idol’ comes home to perform in N.C.

By Laura Smith/ Go Triad

Anoop Desai performs on American Idol on April 21. (Credit: File photo - Associated Press)

Anoop Desai performs on American Idol on April 21. (Credit: File photo - Associated Press)

Less than a year ago, 22-year-old Anoop Desai was a college student working toward a master’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Now, after a busy four months of singing live every week on Season 8 of “American Idol” and placing sixth in the competition, Desai is on his way to national fame and the hopes of a record deal.

Desai is touring with the American Idols Live! Tour 2009 this summer with the nine other finalists: Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud, Megan Joy, Michael Sarver and Scott MacIntyre.

The concert comes to Greensboro Sunday at the Greensboro Coliseum. Desai is excited to come back to his home state to perform.

“The Greensboro show and the Charlotte show will be pretty amazing because my friends will get to see me perform,” he said. “Getting to see the country is great, but I miss home.”

Home for Desai is Chapel Hill, and this is the longest he’s been away from it, he said.

“It’s somewhere that I love, he said. “I love everything about Chapel Hill and North Carolina; it’s always been home. Having the university there was always a plus; we were always surrounded by the aura of Carolina — just feeling a part of that Carolina spirit.”

Desai sang throughout elementary school and in boys choruses. He spent some time playing the trumpet and began singing again in high school and college.

“Growing up, I always would tell people, if given the opportunity to sing (as a career), I would,” he said. “This (‘American Idol’) really gave me the opportunity to do that.”

So he decided to take his talent to the next step and audition for the TV competition.

“It was just something that I felt would be good for me,” he said. “I didn’t have any illusions I’d make it this far.”

Kris Allen, 24, of Arkansas was the winner. Although Desai says he wishes he could have gone further in the competition, he said it was worth it.

“I love being on TV in front of millions of people,” he said. “It’s something you never really get used to, they sort of keep you on the edge; it was cool. There’s no adjective I could use to describe it. It was fun, it was nerve-wracking at times, it was aggravating at times.”

Now, Desai gets to experience that excitement for a little bit longer.

The American Idols Live! Tour runs until Sept. 15, ending in Manchester, N.H. The tour, which began July 5 in Portland, Ore., will travel to 50 cities across the country.

“It’s going really well so far,” Desai said. “We’re getting into a routine now; we’re getting excited for each show.”

On the tour, each performer has his or her own set, and they all come together for a group number at the end.

Desai is grateful to be traveling with the people he has gotten to know so well since January when Season Eight of American Idol began.

“We’re a pretty tight-knit good group of friends,” he said.

After the tour is over, Desai hopes to continue his singing career with a record deal and a possible move to Los Angeles to pursue his dream even further.

“It’s (singing) an emotional outlet,” he said. “It’s something that I can express myself with artistically, and I just have fun doing it.”

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