Chapel Hill’s Anoop Desai is Nervous but Ready

With only a few days to go before his first live performance on “American Idol,” Chapel Hill resident Anoop Desai says he’s been a little homesick but is making the most of his Hollywood experience.

“I miss the small things – like trees,” the 22-year-old said. “I was watching a basketball game and they showed a shot of the Carolina campus, and that made me so homesick. But I’m here for a reason, and I’m pretty focused on that.”

Desai, a former member of the UNC Chapel Hill a cappella group The Clef Hangers, was recently named one of 36 semifinalists on the popular Fox show after surviving several rounds of grueling auditions during what is known as Hollywood Week. He described that time as “one of the most stressful weeks of my life ” because he was constantly on camera or on stage or having to practice.

“It’s hard, but it’s important to keep your wits about you the entire time,” Desai said. “I’m sort of a laid-back person, so I don’t usually get worked up – unless it’s a Carolina basketball game. But I was able to be in my own little world when I needed to be.”

Desai said the judges’ comments – even the negative ones – have helped him refocus and do better. He said he’s happy that judge Randy Jackson still calls him “Noop Dogg.”

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