'American Idol': Syesha Mercado on Todrick Hall, 'Dreamgirls' and her debut album

syesha-mercado-dreamgirls.jpgTwo years off her "American Idol" journey, Syesha Mercado is playing the glamorous Deena Jones in "Dreamgirls" and working on her debut album.

Deena Jones is the "Dreamgirls" role played by music superstar Beyonce, which must be some pretty big shoes to fill for Syesha.

"It was a little scary at first when I started thinking like that. It's a lot of pressure," Syesha tells Zap2it. "But once rehearsals started I just tried my best to focus on who Deena Jones was and playing it as honestly as I could. I definitely pay homage to Beyonce, but at the same time I can only do what I can do."

The "Dreamgirls" schedule is keeping Syesha busy with performances every night in Los Angeles. But being back in L.A. is a nice change from being out on the road. "I'm actually settled in now. I have furniture, I have a bedroom. Right now I'm cooking dinner for tonight, so I feel like I'm normal again."

Being in Los Angeles not only has the perks of an apartment but it affords Syesha time to do some studio work on her upcoming debut album, which will hopefully be released sometime this fall.

When asked what we can expect of the album, Syesha laughs and says, "I'm all for universal music. You can classify me as more pop-R&B, but I grew up listening to the oldies radio ... Caribbean artists, my mom was into a lot of gospel. When 'Dreamgirls' started, I started listening to more '60s and '70s music. But for the most part pop-R&B is my thing."

Between the studio work and "Dreamgirls," we had to wonder if Syesha has time to do anything else, but she assures us she'll find time to stop by "American Idol" this season. Whether or not she will be performing is up in the air, since she tells us, "The show requires a lot from me physically and vocally and I have to make sure I'm well-rested." But we can't wait to see her back at her "Idol" stomping grounds.

When pressed for her "American Idol" Season 9 favorites (just hours before four more semi-finalists are sent home), Syesha named Casey James and Todrick Hall as her two faves this season.

"Todrick actually came to one of my shows and we spoke a long time ago," Syesha recalls. "Everybody in the cast knows him because he's an amazing dancer and he's been in the musical theatre scene. I'm kind of stuck on him a little bit because I've heard him sing before and I know his talent. He's a very, very nice person."

Syesha's fans can keep up with all the latest news at Syesha's official website or on her Twitter or Facebook pages.

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