Before the interview begins, something white and fluffy rushes by. "That's Minnie, she's my dog," Jordin Sparks offers apologetically. "She got into a cup of coffee, so we want to watch her real quick for a little bit. She's kind of walking sideways slightly, but she'll be fine." That's just one more thing for Sparks to keep track of, as the "American Idol" champ launches her first major foray into acting with "Sparkle," the girl-group drama that had her going toe-to-toe with Whitney Houston.
What was your frame of mind going into the audition process as an actress for the first time?
Before I auditioned I was thinking, "Whoever gets this part, it's going to be really special." I was reading it going, "This is great, this is really incredible." And then at the same time I was like, "Well, I haven't read very many scripts, so how do I know the difference between something that's great and something that's not?" My mindset when I went in to audition was, "There's a very real chance that you couldn't get this part, but if you do, run with it. Just go, run with it, don't question it."
That mindset of "I might not get it" is pretty mature and realistic. How do you get that balance?
If we're going to go way back, my dad played football. And I've always kind of compared everything to the sports world. Like there's always somebody who's going to be coming up who's more talented or faster or stronger or something like that. There's always going to be somebody who's waiting in the wings to take your place or sing right alongside you. So I always had that mindset because of my dad, and I applied that to "Idol" as well.
How do you think Mariah Carey will do as a judge on “American Idol”?
I’ve listened to Mariah Carey since I was in my mother’s stomach, so I am a huge fan of her and her voice and her music. I feel like Mariah started out pretty young and she’s grown up in the spotlight and industry. She’s had her ups and downs, she’s had high-profile relationships, she’s had all this stuff happen, and I think the fact that on “Idol” you have such a huge age range that she’s able to hit each thing that each contestant might come up with. I’m excited to see what she does, and I’m also excited to see who else they bring in. I feel like it’s been changing every year so much that now people are just used to seeing somebody new come in.