I went on a fun little girls’ night out to Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar in Glenview. I was so impressed with their food, wine, service and atmosphere – I knew I needed to share this little secret with Chicago.
Flight has been around for eight years and is located on Tower Drive in the Glen Town Center. They serve a variety of delicious foods including their duck mack & cheese and tuscan fries along with an abundance of different wines.
Once my evening concluded, I opened my bill holder, and inside was a flyer of Flight’s upcoming events. I saw that an American Idol finalist would be performing there the following week and I knew I had to attend.
That finalist was top ten contestant of the sixth season on American Idol, Gina Glocksen. Glocksen, a Chicago land native, performed an intimate show at Flight. She sat in a cozy seat next to a beautiful creme colored grand piano played by her talented friend Dario Giraldo. She sang some of her favorite tunes and took requests for more than two full hours. Her set list included “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, Adele’s “Someone Like You” and a myriad of other songs. She even got funny and sung a duet with her pianist to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World”.
I sat down with Glocksen before the show to get to know her a little better. View our conversation below.
Janelle: As you were growing up around Chicago, what is your favorite thing about this city?
Gina: Portillo’s. It really is. It’s the food. You know how it is with traveling and everything and you go to New York and they say we have the best food. It’s like, you really don’t. Chicago is where it’s at!
Janelle: What are your other favorite restaurants around Chicago?
Gina: Well, my favorite restaurant around the Chicago land area, it definitely has to be Meson Sabika. It’s a tapas restaurant and it is my far the best tapas I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Janelle: Since we’re here at a restaurant, what is your favorite food and drink?
Gina: I’m a whisky girl, but when it’s time to be classy I love a nice glass of Cabernet and a medium rare steak with garlic mashed potatoes.
Janelle: So you’re a whiskey girl, what kind of whiskey are you into?
Gina: Jack Daniels, Maker’s Mark bourbon, if they have it, but Jack’s my buddy.
Janelle: Do you like to mix it with anything or on the rocks.
Gina: On the rocks.
Janelle: We’re going to talk a little about American Idol. What was your most memorable moment on the show?
Gina: On the show, that was aired it was probably meeting meeting Gwen Stefani or singing with Tony Bennett, it’s so surreal being able to meet all these people that I grew up to. Even Diana Ross, my mom was freaking out that I got to meet her.
Janelle: What was your favorite song that you performed on American Idol?
Gina: It was “I’ll Stand By You”. It was a turning point, but it wasn’t because I got kicked off the following week, but that’s when Simon said I was the best of the night. That was my best moment actually. My performances from the weeks before and that one performance [Simon said] “It was literally like chalk and cheese” because the two are just nothing alike.
Janelle: Did you receive any good advice while you were on the show about your performances or any life advice?
Gina: Yes, I got a whole bunch of advice from so many different people. Musically and vocally, Debra Bird and Michael Orland were my coaches. Michael was the piano player and Debra is the voice teacher and she helped me learn to preserve and not hurt myself. When it comes to life, a lot of the mentors said just try to keep a close circle of people that you trust, that will support you, a lot of backstabbers and a lot of people coming out of the woodwork that just because I was on TV for 15 minutes that somehow I’m related to them or I dated them back then and they did come out.
Janelle: What was a day in the life of Gina Glocksen while touring on American Idols LIVE! Not on your days off, on show days?
Gina: Gosh, it all seemed like a day off being on tour. Actually your day all starts after the show. After the show ends, we do our meet & greets, we get on the bus, we travel to the next city, we probably get there at 4 am, stay in the hotel until sound check which is probably about three hours before the show starts, and then we get our hair and makeup done, do the show and do it all over again for 63 days. It was insane and I miss it every day.
Janelle: Chicago is proud of your success on American Idol, what have you been up to since then?
Gina: Well, I’m in a cover band, the Gina Glocksen Band, we play some originals, but it’s kind of hard to get everyone gathered just for originals. It’s been six years since American Idol. It’s been a long time. My husband’s in my band, we travel, it’s amazing, it’s so much fun. I sometimes sing at Maestro’s Steakhouse in the city, and now I get to work with one of my good friends tonight [Dario]. It’s kind of awesome, and it’s my first time doing this.
Janelle: Congratulations on getting married, I loved seeing all the wedding photos in the tabloids.
Gina: Thank you! Oh my gosh, did you see how he proposed? I ended up crying. He’s awesome
Janelle: Yes, I did! Speaking of marriage, what’s one surprise that marriage has shown you?
Gina: That it’s absolutely the same as when we were dating. I was expecting something absolutely different, but we lived together for a while before we got married. He’s really lenient, he cooks, he cleans, he’s the housewife. He’s also a high school teacher at Nequa Valley High School in Naperville during the day and then at night he’s in my band.
Janelle: What was the first song you danced to at your wedding?
Gina: The one that Jordin Sparks sang was “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles – but it was the version from the movie “Across the Universe” and the singer was T.V. Carpio.
Janelle: Tell me more about your band. I know your husband, Joe Ruzicka, is the bassist.
Gina: Kyle and Kerry Gansel, they’re brothers, they play guitars. I have two drummers, but not at the same time. They switch off because they’re both family men, so I don’t want to take them away from their families: Kris Gutrich and Kip Serena.
Janelle: What’s on the horizon for you in the future?
Gina: My number one dream in life is to be a mom. If I don’t make it big, and I’m not trying so hard right now, but if I don’t, I’m so happy with the success that I’ve had. Like you can Google my name and things come up and they are not bad things. So, I’m very happy about that. I think that I’ve done what I can to be a good influence to little kids. I’m not out there flaunting anything or doing anything provocative. I’m fun, I’m quirky, and I want little girls if they’re aspiring to be singers or performers that it doesn’t have to be serious all the time. You have to have fun with what you’re doing otherwise you’ll resent it when you get older.
Janelle: Speaking of girl singers, have you heard the new Paris Hilton single that came out today?
Gina: Oh please stop. Really? That bugs me because I have a single. But Paris Hilton, she doesn’t want to be a singer, let’s be honest. I don’t understand that if someone doesn’t have a dream to do something, there’s so many other people that have that dream. That makes me really bitter.
Janelle: One last question for Chicago’s The Local Tourist – Cubs or White Sox?
Gina: The White Sox – don’t stop believin’. They treat me the best when I sing the Anthem… so that’s why.
Gina Glocksen Band upcoming schedule:
March 16: 191 South in Mokena
March 30: 115 Bourbon Street
March 31: The Lodge in Lisle
Gina will also be singing on tour with the national production Ballroom with a Twist beginning this Friday. Ballroom with a Twist is the perfect infussion of dancing and music with some of your favorites from Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol.
View more photos from this event HERE.