The last time we saw Ayla Brown on stage, she was caught off guard by her Dad’s now famous “available” comment, and she’s been responding to eligible bachelors on her facebook page ever since. “There’s still over 100 there, and I’m trying to get through them and then if I reply back, I’m getting another email, so it’s just like okay, I’m about to stop with all of this. That’s not how I want to meet a man,” Ayla says.
She has little time for a relationship right now, as she wraps up her college basketball career, the pinnacle of which came on the very night her father was sworn in. “Yeah, I wanted to be down there, but at the same time, I wouldn’t trade that opportunity for anything. Just to be able to beat Duke. That was incredible, that was one of the moments that I will always remember,” Ayla says.
To escape, it’s not to the court, or the studio, but Ayla often seeks refuge at the ceramics building at Boston College, “this is where I find my inspiration and whether it’s simple things like making a cup or a vase or a bowl, it doesn’t really matter. Just the fact that I can come here and relax and get my mind off things,” Ayla says.
When the season ends, Ayla will finally be free of NCAA rules that for the past four years have prevented her from being able to promote her music or herself. She just released her new CD “Circles”, her third, and come spring, she hopes to jump start a singing career that took her all the way to Los Angeles on American Idol.
Ayla appeared on Season 5, back in 2006, and soon found herself in the sweet 16, “it’s very cut throat, but I think American Idol wants it that way. I think it wouldn’t be a competition if it wasn’t like that,” Ayla says.
But you can’t talk about Idol without talking about the judges, and though there’s a few new faces on the show, Ayla misses seeing Paula Abdul the most, “she was the kindest person behind the scenes, the only one who took time to get to know the contestants,” Ayla goes on to say about judge Randy Jackson, “I guess, I know he loved sports, and that’s why I respected him, but ok, that’s it.” And as for Simon Cowell, “like a coach, respected by me, and care about his opinion, but also know that he’s not always right, but he’s the one I want to gain the most respect from,” Ayla says.
According to Ayla, a typical day for a contestant on the show, at least for those under 17, like herself, meant hitting the books since they were missing school, “study hall 3 hours in the morning while other people got to start rehearing, which put us, I feel, at a disadvantage.”
Ayla also says that long days were the rule and there was a lot of waiting, especially when it came to your own hour a week with the vocal coach, “if you’re the last person sitting in that green room, waiting for 12 hours plus lunch and dinner break, to even get your rehearsal time,” and when it comes to meals, Ayla says they were just plain lousy, “Here I am a basketball player, trying to keep on as much weight as possible and I ended up losing 15 pounds which was not good.”
But the good times far outweighed the bad, and as for Ayla’s favorite memory of being on the show, had to be the first time she walked out to sing on stage with a full band, “I had never sung with a band before and just that feeling was really cool,” Ayla says. Another thing that’s cool for Ayla, would be possibly making a guest appearance on the show this season, “let’s just say there’s a very good chance and I’m hoping that they’ll give me that opportunity.