LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "American Idol" Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta doesn't watch much TV, but he wasn't about to miss the momentous Season 10 premiere! In fact, he and the rest of the Archuletas made it family night and sat together as the world was introduced to new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. "It feels like the first season of American Idol is starting again," he says. "That same excitement is there."
Ever the half-glass-full optimist, a chat with the lovable dimpled Archie is nothing if not an uplifting experience, and this time was no different. Read on to hear more of his thoughts on Season 10.
THR: When is the last time you and your family sat down to watch "Idol" together?
Archuleta: We never do that, but what's interesting with this season is my family was excited to see it, too. When I was on the show, they got overwhelmed by the whole "American Idol" experience, but they're still fans. It's almost like that fresh start brought this new, fresh excitement back.
THR: What did you think of Jennifer Lopez?
Archuleta: It was really fun to watch her. She's someone I've grown up respecting by watching the "Selena" movie and my mom enjoyed listening to her music. I just loved seeing a Latina on there representing.
THR: A lot of people were commenting that she was being too easy on the contestants, what did you think?
Archuleta:, you understand the nerves that people feel, so you can't help but feel empathy for them. They're performers, and I think ladies naturally have that nurturing side to them. As you saw with Paula, she was always nice, but she got a little more tough as she went along, realizing, you get over feeling bad for them and start giving them real critiques. I think she did a really great job for her first time. It's not easy to tell people to their face and be honest if you crush their dreams.
THR: What did you think of Steven Tyler?
Archuleta: A lot of people didn't realize what a character he is. He really made it funny and entertaining to watch. I thought he was going to be more reserved or quiet. I thought he was going to be more self-conscious than he was, and I'm happy he wasn't. I guess he's used to being in front of people and having to deal with attention. It really was refreshing that the judges were able to be themselves.
THR: Do you feel like this is more the real Randy Jackson?
Archuleta: I think he feels responsibility being the only original judge on the show and guiding the other two judges, because they are new to this. I think there's a lot that goes into being a judge -- physically being there and emotionally, too. The other two judges are getting the hang of that and Randy is the one leading them. He's in charge now because he's the one who's been there longest and understands how things go. I think he's more tough, because Simon's not there to be the brutally honest one and do the dirty work, but Randy's always been pretty honest about things.
THR: If you could relive your audition, would you prefer to be judged by Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler?
Archuleta: I don't know. I think it was pretty cool to have Paula and Simon there. It would have been really awesome to have Steven and Jennifer Lopez, too, though… and interesting to see what they thought and what kind of advice they would have given after each performance.
THR: Is Simon missed?
Archuleta: It's hard to say he's missed, because I know he's going to be on another show. I'm going to get my share of Simon, but I feel like he needed to be gone in order to get that new, fresh excitement. To let people feel like they're watching something for the first time. It they kept Simon there, it would feel like it was getting old.
THR: There have been a lot of talented 16- and 15-year-olds during the auditions so far…,
Archuleta: It's great that they've incorporated a lot of younger people, because in the earlier seasons, they discouraged younger kids from auditioning because they didn't feel like they were ready. It's cool that people can start following their dreams at a young age. You don't have to wait until you're 30 for things to happen, you can be young and motivated and be willing to work hard, and I think it's great that they show that. Especially now, with "Glee" it's allowed a lot of kids to love music and performing at a young age. All ages watched "American Idol," but I think it was nice to be able to show kids, "Hey, you can be here, too."
THR: Do you feel like "Idol" needed to make changes?
Archuleta: For me, they were very welcome changes. I liked the way they did it, and I think it was necessary to at least change it a little. Because even if they kept it the old format and same judges, sometimes things can get old if you keep something for too long. I think it was able to grab people's attention again.
THR: What are these auditioners going through now that their TV moment has been seen by millions. What was your experience?
Archuleta: All of a sudden, these people started texting me out of nowhere. People somehow had my number and were calling and texting. It really bugged me.
Archuleta: Because I didn't want people to know. I didn't want to disappoint them if I didn't go further. I've always liked keeping things to myself, so it was just weird that one of my biggest secrets -- auditioning for "American Idol" -- was now out there, I didn't know what was going to happen, but I was really excited… I was just wondering what the future was going to be like, what's going to happen, and how hard is it going to be? Am I going to be able to handle it all, what's going to happen next? I think part of that stress is good because it keeps you focused.
Editing by Zorianna Kit