american idol panel reality rocks Reality Rocks 2011: 'American Idol' Season 9 alumni talk show experienceOne of the first panels at Reality Rocks 2011 was a round-table discussion with “American Idol” Season 9 alumni Didi Benami, Katie Stevens, Michael Lynche, Tim Urban and Paige Miles.

The group is very obviously close – they were laughing and joking with each other. The sense of camaraderie was palpable as they spoke about their experiences on the show.

Here are a few highlights:

Big Mike, on seeing the judges for the first time in auditions: “I remember thinking Simon was pretty. He was so pretty. They were like cartoon characters, they were all so pretty.”

Didi, on keeping her inclusion in hte Top 24 a secret: “The only people that knew were my brother and my mom before the show aired. My dad didn’t know, he can’t keep a secret.”

Katie, on how hard it is when the judges are contradictory: “Simon’s like, ‘You should be country,’ and Kara’s like, ‘You should be pop,’ and Ellen’s like, “I don’t care what you do.” [laughs]

Big Mike‘s advice for aspiring stars: “Be nice to everybody. This business is so small.”

Katie‘s advice: “Be yourself, Go in there and be yourself. I tried to please everybody and you’re not gonna please anybody if you don’t please yourself first.”

Didi‘s advice: “There are no such things as mistakes, there are only life lessons and you learn from all of them.”

Tim‘s advice: “If you walk off the stage and you feel good … then that’s all you can really do.”

Paige‘s quip advice: “You will not please 30 million people. If you do, let me know how you did it.” [laughs]