Exclusive Interview with Alyssa Raghu at the National Memorial Day Concert

Alyssa Raghu is best known as a contestant on American Idol. She’s the first contestant in the show’s history to become a semi finalist twice in two separate years, as well as the only person to be a semifinalist in one year and a finalist in another.

I got the chance to talk with Alyssa ahead of the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C. We talked about what it meant to her to be a part of that event, what she learned from her time on American Idol, what she’s needing out about and more. Keep reading to see what she had to say!

So we’re here for the 30th anniversary of the National Memorial Day Concert. Is this your first time in [Washington] D.C.?

Actually, I went on an 8th grade trip out here.


Yes, super classic. I’m quite the stereotypical American here. But I got to learn all about everything. Now, I’m back, doing something absolutely incredible with the 30th anniversary for this Memorial Day concert. [It’s] nuts.

What does it mean to you to be here and be a part of this?

It means the world to me because I feel like it’s a chance to make my dad proud because he was in the Air Force and my grandpa was in the Army. All I want to do is make dad proud and America proud, so I’m here to do that.

You just came off not one season of American Idol, but two seasons of American Idol. What did you learn from both of those experiences?

I learned that it’s okay to fall, it’s okay to fail because that’s part of life. Nothing is easy ever. You can’t just pretend like you’re pretty and you can sing so you’ll get it, cause that’s not it for everyone. I had nothing, no connections whatsoever. I had to do this with my dad, who also didn’t know anything. So if I can do it, then you can totally do whatever you want. You don’t have to have any connections. You’re the connection.

Do you have any plans to release any new music any time soon or is that still TBD?

It’s not TBD, actually. You’re probably the first press outlet that’s asked me, but I’m going to be releasing a single in the next month. I can’t tell you the name yet, but it’s going to be great. 

Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?

I think it’s something I’ve always nerded out about. When I was younger, I had my entire room Marvel-themed. I was a super tomboy, I mean, I still kind of am but I have to dress up to look nice [laughs]. Anyway, I know everything about every character ever and it will stay that way.

Did you ever read the comics or do you just watch the movies?

I read a couple of the comics but I’m a super movie person. I love the Marvel movies. I’ve seen every single one. I’ll be honest with you: I was at the premiere for Avengers: Endgame. I’ll be real [laughs]. 

Make sure you follow Alyssa on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The National Memorial Day Concert airs tonight on PBS at 8/7c.

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