By Judy Kurtz - 04/18/12 10:57 PM EDT
Jordin Sparks, who, at 17, became the youngest winner of “American Idol” in 2007, thinks President Obama would be a welcome addition to the panel of judges on the singing competition.
Sparks was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday on behalf of Childhelp, a nonprofit that pushes for prevwention and treatment of child abuse (full disclosure: This reporter was a past member of the group). At its National Day of Hope lunch in the Russell Senate Office Building, the organization honored Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for their efforts.
Having performed for both past and current presidents tons of times, the young entertainer behind hit such as “Battlefield” and “No Air” is used to being under pressure.
But when asked what’s tougher, gearing up to sing in front of millions of people or belting out a tune in front of a commander in chief, she admits, “I think it’s a different type of pressure. With ‘Idol’ it’s kind of just like ‘OK, here’s this competition — I need to do better than somebody else.’ When you’re singing in front of the president, you trip out.”
Sparks explains, “The last time I performed for [Obama] it was at a Motown special last year at the White House. And I was in the White House standing there [thinking about] the history in this place, and I’m walking in the footsteps that they walked, and he’s going to be here soon, and he’s going to be in the front row, and he’s going to be watching me. It’s nerve-racking, but it’s exhilarating and really exciting.”
While she’s been making many a trip to Washington to support several different causes and charities, Sparks says don’t expect her to trade in her mic for a podium anytime soon — she has no plans to enter the cutthroat world of politics: “I’d hate to have the pressure of being like the president and going, ‘OK, I’m going to make this decision.’ And then all of the sudden, half of the people are happy and the other half aren’t. When I sing a song, I just put it out there and I’m like, ‘Most of you will probably like it, I’m pretty sure.’ ”