1. What was the most challenging part of being on American Idol? How were you able to maintain your standards there?
The most challenging part of being on American Idol was hearing the criticism. And not necessarily from the judges but from my peers. I was able to stay positive by calling family members and trusted friends for support and encouragement.
2. How were you able to maintain your standards there?
Maintaining my standards was almost easy because it wasn't like I was being subtly tempted here and there—I was bombarded by evil every day. It was all around me, and so it was easier to just say no to everything, all at once. Once people knew what I believed in, they respected me and helped me stay true to my values. Fellow contestants frequently said they didn't want to "corrupt Carmen."
3. Which of your performances did you enjoy the most on American Idol?
My favorite performance was "Can't Hurry Love" for Motown week. It was my first performance and I was the first performer. I got great reviews from the judges—Simon said "You justified my pick!"
4. What was the hardest stunt to perform on Fear Factor?
Tarantulas. They bite. They hurt. I would rather give birth than be stuck chained down on that sled with those hairy little monsters.
5. Did you have any missionary experiences come from your fame?
I was able to give a Book of Mormon to Twila Tanner from "Survivor" when we were both on Fear Factor. It was an amazing experience, and she ended up calling me a few months later to tell me the missionaries had stopped by her house.
6. What sort of songs do you like to write best?
I love writing heartbreaking, life-changing, rip-your-heart-out songs. I'm sort of dramatic—and I love writing songs that really make you think. Happy songs are too easy. It's the tough ones, the ones that make you cry, the ones that you hear and say, "I know EXACTLY what this person is talking about!" that I like writing. But of course, every song can't be depressing or no one would buy your album!
7. If you could do a duet with any star—dead or alive—who would you choose?
Shania Twain is my idol and someone I would just die to do a duet with.
8. Where did you first meet your husband?
I met my husband at the Stadium of Fire! He was in the audience, I was performing, and he got my autograph—and my number—when I came off stage. The rest is history.
9. What is your favorite family activity with your sons and husband?
My favorite thing to do with my family is to go boating. We love being out on the water. It's so relaxing and always a good time.
10. What do you love most about being a mom?
I love everything about being a mom. Except the morning sickness, which I'm having a really hard time with right now as baby number three is on his/her way...
11. What’s the most challenging aspect of juggling a career and a family?
The most challenging aspect of being a stay-at-home mom while juggling a career is figuring out who is going to watch my kids while I'm away. I have so many great family members and friends who are always willing to help out, but I have been blessed with the gift of guilt and never feel good about being away.
12. What has been the hardest trial of your life, and how have you overcome it?
The hardest trial of my life wasn’t really about my life at all—we found out my little brother had a brain tumor while I was on tour with American Idols Live. I remember sitting backstage and just crying and crying. One night as I was lying in my top bunk on the tour bus, I made a plea to Heavenly Father. I asked him with all the sincerity and loving worry of an eighteen-year-old older sister that if He would heal my brother, I would give up my singing career. Ten years later, my brother’s tumor has been diagnosed as benign and although he still suffers from the occasional seizure that is a side effect from the tumor, he is living a normal, fulfilling life. I don’t know if Heavenly Father actually makes bargain deals—I’m sure His plan is much smarter than mine—but in that moment of devastation in learning about my brother’s tumor, I realized what was most important in life, and it wasn’t making money or performing or living the famous lifestyle. The most important thing to me was my little brother and just knowing that he was going to be ok. I learned to rely on my Heavenly Father’s wisdom and timing and saw firsthand the endless love and sacrifice of my parents.
13. You've accomplished so much in your life already—what’s the top item still on your “bucket list”?
I would love to be in a Broadway play. I’ve always loved musical theater, and that’s been a dream of mine!
14. If you could go on your dream vacation, where would you go?
My dream vacation would be a European tour. I’ve been to London, but only for eight hours on a stop to Kenya on an African safari. I’ve always wanted to go to magical, mystical Ireland.
15. With all that time in the spotlight, there are sure to have been some mishaps. What’s been your most embarrassing moment?
My most embarrassing moment was during an interview with MSNBC for Joe Scarborough’s Scarborough Country. He asked me a question about where I was in the country that night (back East somewhere) but I didn’t hear him. The camera cut to me and I just sat there, awkwardly smiling. Once I realized the host was waiting for a response, instead of asking him to repeat the question, I just blabbered about much I liked performing. It was very uncomfortable.
16. What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to write another book (or several!), record another album, perhaps write or perform in a play, and work each day at being a better mother.