American Idol Winner Trent Harmon on Surviving Mono, Pulling Faces, Going Country and Scaling 'Chandelier'

Michael Slezak

Trent Harmon has one regret about being the final winner of American Idol: He won’t get the opportunity to return to the show next season as a cool, conquering hero looked up to by a new crop of contestants.

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On the flip side, though, the Mississippi farm boy says he’s able to look back with contentedness at one of his less successful performances — a cover of Sam Smith’s “Like I Can” that failed to impress his family members. “I knew as soon as I sang the last note, I didn’t do as well as I could have,” he tells TVLine over the course of a wide-ranging, three-part video interview about his time on the Fox reality competition. That disappointment, however, “fired me up,” Trent adds, setting the stage for his late-season surge.

Trent also takes a deep dive into the reasoning behind some of his lesser-known song choices (“Unaware” and “What Are You Listening To”), the valuable lesson he learned during rehearsal for a duet with Season 6 champ Jordin Sparks, the approach he took to working with Idol‘s wardrobe department and the work he did in the wake of his unsuccessful audition for The Voice last year.

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Also on the docket: Trent’s Hollywood Week bout with mono; mentor (and new boss) Scott Borchetta’s comments about his penchant for making faces while singing; his emotional reinvention of Sia’s “Chandelier”; and the country direction of his upcoming debut album.

Press PLAY above for Part 1 — and below for Parts 2 and 3 — then hit the comments with your thoughts on Trent’s win and his post-Idol future.

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