american idol panel reality rocks Reality Rocks 2011: 'American Idol' Season 9 alumni talk show experienceOne of the first panels at Reality Rocks 2011 was a round-table discussion with “American Idol” Season 9 alumni Didi Benami, Katie Stevens, Michael Lynche, Tim Urban and Paige Miles.

The group is very obviously close – they were laughing and joking with each other. The sense of camaraderie was palpable as they spoke about their experiences on the show.

Here are a few highlights:

Big Mike, on seeing the judges for the first time in auditions: “I remember thinking Simon was pretty. He was so pretty. They were like cartoon characters, they were all so pretty.”

Didi, on keeping her inclusion in hte Top 24 a secret: “The only people that knew were my brother and my mom before the show aired. My dad didn’t know, he can’t keep a secret.”

Katie, on how hard it is when the judges are contradictory: “Simon’s like, ‘You should be country,’ and Kara’s like, ‘You should be pop,’ and Ellen’s like, “I don’t care what you do.” [laughs]

Big Mike‘s advice for aspiring stars: “Be nice to everybody. This business is so small.”

Katie‘s advice: “Be yourself, Go in there and be yourself. I tried to please everybody and you’re not gonna please anybody if you don’t please yourself first.”

Didi‘s advice: “There are no such things as mistakes, there are only life lessons and you learn from all of them.”

Tim‘s advice: “If you walk off the stage and you feel good … then that’s all you can really do.”

Paige‘s quip advice: “You will not please 30 million people. If you do, let me know how you did it.” [laughs]

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."