Jacob Interviews…Daniel Joseph Baker, Part Two

One of Daniel’s best numbers on “America’s Got Talent” was “The Edge of Glory” but according to him, it was his toughest performance to prepare for. (Photo property of SYCO/NBC).

By: Jacob Elyachar

My conversation with America’s Got Talent alum Daniel Joseph Baker continues as we talked about his Hollywood experience, his best and worse performances and his elimination.

Jacob Elyachar: How long was the break between the final days in Vegas and the first day of the live show?

Daniel Joseph Baker: That was two months.  It was two months of waiting and not telling anyone that you were going to be on the show.  It was really hard to tell my employers “I need these days off in July.”  They were like: “What for?” and I said that I was going on vacation with my family.

JE: Could you talk about a typical day on the America’s Got Talent set?

DJB: The day was long.  You had an eight o’clock call time and you got back in your hotel room until way later.  I will say that the Hollywood Round was definitely the easiest round in schedule versus Vegas and the cull call.   We go inside a tent and wait around, next head to rehearsal and wardrobe fitting.   After that, we meet with the show’s music people and listen to our track and then we went back to the tent and talked to the other contestants.

On the day of the show, we had dress rehearsal and that was the first time we saw everyone’s performances.  After that, you just had time to talk to contestants and I made some lifelong friends.

JE: Let’s go back to when you sang “The Edge of Glory.”  What it a hard performance for you?

DJB: To be honest with you, I have the worst memory of that performance.  It was the hardest and most stressful time on the show for me.   I liked the performance but when I go back to the rehearsal time, it was the worst time ever because I was not going to sing that song and I was going to do something completely different.    Then I was notified a week before leaving that I could not do that song.    So I had to come up with another song and I was hesitant about singing another Lady Gaga song because I thought that the Judges were going to say: “That’s all you can do?” but it was my parents who urged me to do that song and I said I am going to do it.

I started on the piano and I am going to get up and have both dancers and music in my performance and it is going to be fierce!  At that point, I was very out of my comfort zone because I did not like stepping away from the piano and if I did that I thought I was going to look stupid and I was very nervous.  On top of that, rehearsals for the first week were not going well with the dancers and I did not like any of it.   I had a day off before the live show and I had to go in my mind and say to myself that I am going to commit 100-percent to it and I hope the Judges liked it.   I am glad that it worked out and that they enjoyed it.  Everyone talks about that one and it is just funny because I was the least confident about that performance.

JE: If people looked back during the Hollywood rounds of your season, Piers was handing out X’s left and right. Were you worried that you would receive an X?

DJB: (Shakes his head) Yeah!  I thought that the Judges were going to say: “This was a circus!” “What are you doing? Stay behind the piano!”  “You’re doing Lady Gaga again?” Everything that I thought was going to happen, they did the opposite.  I did not know how that happened but thank you Judges for shocking to me.

JE: Your best performance on AGT was your cover of Adele’s “Turning Tables.” It made my list of the Top 10 Best Reality T.V. Performances of 2011.  Why did decide to tackle an Adele song?

DJB:  I wanted to do Adele since the Vegas Round and I wanted to do another song by her but it kept not getting cleared.  I told myself that it was between “Turning Tables” or another song but I wanted to do something completely different: I wanted to show off my voice and my piano skills.  I said on the show that I was not a one trick pony.   I came up with the arrangement, which was an original arrangement that had not been done before with a piano solo.

JE: When I was preparing for this interview, I went back and looked at all of your videos.   The Judges stated that you were this generation’s Liberace.  A lot of viewers would agree with that statement when they saw your outfit and thought that was from Liberace’s playbook.  Did the comments inspire you to design that outfit?

DJB:   I honestly maybe had subconsciously in my mind but my main and direct inspiration for the outfit was Lady Gaga and myself.   At that point, I wanted to do a more demur song but have my outfit still be fierce.   I got to personally design the outfit and it was all my inspiration.  The show did not that for a lot of the contestants like stock wardrobe and made the outfit from scratch for the entire week.   I got to go in everyday and see it get fiercer and fiercer.   After I put my costume on during the day of dress rehearsal, I went into the contestant tent and I got applause from all of the contestants.

JE: Everything was going for you after that performance; you received a standing ovation from Howie and Sharon.   However, the next night you were eliminated by both Piers and Howie in favor of the West Springfield Dance Team.  What was going through your mind during the elimination process?

DJB:  That whole experience was a blur.  I cannot even talk about it because it was so shocking.   I went back to (fellow contestants) Landon and Harmony Swank’s hotel room that night and they were comforting me because I needed to be away from my family and everyone.   We watched back the elimination episode and we laughed and thought we could not believed that happened and what I honestly remember is that I thought based on the Judges’ comments said the night before, I thought I was going to be there for another round and I think that a majority of people did too.

The conclusion of my conversation with Daniel Joseph Baker will be coming soon!

To watch Daniel’s cover of “The Edge of Glory,” click here: http://youtu.be/AeLbv8tJVuQ

Daniel’s cover of “Turning Tables” was one of the best performances from Season Six.  Click here to watch his performance: http://youtu.be/o7Iyow2rohU

To see what Daniel has been up to, visit his Website: http://www.danieljosephbaker.com/welcome.cfm

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