If you watched season six of American Idol, you probably remember Chris Sligh, the wisecracking contestant who gave judge Simon Cowell a run for his money. Though he didn't win (Chris placed 10th), he participated in 2007's Idol tour, is an Idol commentator for Entertainment Weekly online, and has just released his second album, Running Back to You. MP talked with Chris and Sarah, his wife of five years, about the impact American Idol has had on their marriage.
Was trying out for American Idol a joint decision?
Chris: It was my third time to try out—the first two years I didn't make it past the first round. So Sarah wasn't exactly supportive in the beginning. But once I made it to [judges] Randy, Paula, and Simon, she jumped on board.
Sarah: At first I was like, "Aw, don't do that." There had been so many ups and downs in Chris's career that it was really difficult to get onboard unless I felt it was actually going somewhere. I hated getting my hopes—and his—dashed. But I did think it would be a great jumping off point for his career.
During the competition, Chris, you spent weeks away from Sarah. How did you stay connected?
Chris: When I knew I was going to Hollywood, I started researching on the internet and talking to contestants who had made the top 24. So Sarah and I were able to discuss what was going to happen, the whole process. The most difficult time was during the early stages when we were separated for about five weeks. We were on opposite coasts, and the time difference was rough, but we made it work. We sent each other e-mails and notes and would text each other.1