Two Egg Harbor Township teenagers have been seen on the “American Idol” stage this season, but they are not among the contestants.
Destinee Monroe, 16, and her younger sister, Paris, 15, have been supplying backing vocals for some of the contestants as they perform live during this season’s “American Idol” competition.
“We were so excited because ‘American Idol’ is one of our favorite TV shows, and we were especially happy to sing with such talented artists, especially Scotty (McCreery) and Lauren (Alaina) because we’re all around the same age,” Destinee Monroe said. “With an opportunity like this to sing on the No. 1 show on television in the world, we could not turn it down.”
Destinee and Paris’ parents, Edward and Lenore Monroe, still have a home in Egg Harbor Township, but moved to the Los Angeles area in 2007 when the girls signed to Interscope Records as part of the trio known as the Clique Girlz. The group disbanded in 2009, and Destinee and Paris formed their own group.
They got their “Idol” break when Jimmy Iovine, chairman of their record label, joined the popular TV talent contest this year as a contestant mentor.
“Our manager, Vincent Herbert, told us that Jimmy Iovine, the chairman of Interscope Records, had an idea he wanted to talk to us about,” said Paris Monroe earlier this week from Los Angeles. “He asked us to come to Interscope Studios. When we got there, rehearsals for ‘American Idol’ were going on, and Jimmy asked us to sing a few songs for the producers of AI. After we performed, we were asked to sing backing harmonies and vocals for Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina.”
It was not difficult for them to land the “American Idol” gig, Destinee Monroe said.
“We just did what we do — sing — and the producers loved our voices,” she said.
The most memorable thing about being on the “Idol” set for the first time was the fun they had with Iovine, Paris Monroe said.
“We loved watching him mentor the contestants and give them the same advice he’s given us over the years. It was like a family reunion seeing all the producers we have worked with over the years,” said Paris Monroe, who added their first performance on the show was March 9.
One of those producers was former Pleasantville resident Rodney Jerkins, who produced Brandy, Beyonce, Monica and Jennifer Lopez, among others. Jerkins worked with the teens on two unreleased songs, “Turn Up The Volume” and “Brag, Brag, Brag.”
Even though they are backup vocalists and have a record deal, Interscope Records believes their appearances are worth it, publicist Yvette Gayle said.
“The benefit is that they get to perform and showcase their vocal ability in front of one of the largest television viewerships that exists. It’s an excellent opportunity for them to acquire new fans and experience different genres of music,” Gayle said.
Destinee and Paris did studio-only backups for contestant Jacob Lusk on “Man in the Mirror” and former contestants Pia Toscano on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and Paul McDonald on “Old Time Rock and Roll.”
The girls did live performances on the show for former contestants McDonald, Stefano Langone and Thia Megia. They also sang live supporting McCreery, Alaina and Haley Reinhart, who are still competing. Because they have already accompanied these vocalists, who are still in competition, there is a good chance they may appear again during the final four weeks of the program.
“The show is in fact done week to week, so we cannot confirm their participation beyond a couple of days’ notice,” Gayle said.
Later this year, Destinee and Paris’ first single through Interscope Records will be released, but in the meantime, being on “Idol” keeps them in the public eye. A story about their “Idol” work has appeared in the Hollywood Reporter, an entertainment industry trade publication.
But the girls aren’t counting on “Idol” alone to gain them new fans.
The sisters can be found on YouTube with videos recorded this year of them singing such popular current hits as “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “E.T.” by Katy Perry, “Price Tag” by Jessie J. and their version of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which they sang back up on when Alaina covered the song on the April 20 edition of “Idol.”
Destinee and Paris also will be featured on the new reality TV show “The Dance Scene,” starring choreographer Laurieann Gibson, during the episode titled “Mama Cub to Mama Cub,” that airs 10:30 p.m. Sunday on the E!
During their short careers, Destinee and Paris have opened for the Jonas Brothers, Kirk Franklin, Billy Ray Cyrus and Backstreet Boys among others, performed on NBC’s “Today” show and had songs on “The Bratz” and “Despicable Me” soundtracks, but performing live on “Idol” has been new for them, Destinee Monroe said.
“It’s different than a lot of experiences we’ve had, since we’ve never sung background vocals for anyone else but ourselves ... but it’s so much fun being on ‘American Idol,’” Destinee Monroe said. “It reminds us of touring ... being backstage and just having so much fun.”
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