"I love Ne-Yo right now," he said. "I think that I'm a pop R&B singer. I'm a contemporary R&B singer. So that's really the type of album I'd like to release. Love to do some collaborations with Luda[cris] and Kanye [West] ... but we'll see. Wherever this takes me, I know that I'm going to have a great opportunity to do my music."
Hogan Medlin, a UNC sophomore who sang with Desai in the university a capella group the Clef Hangers and served on the student body government with Carson, remembers the two being very good friends.
"There was one time, when we were with the Clef Hangers, we were on the corner on one of the streets of Chapel Hill singing to no one in particular. The only person who watched us stopped, smiled and danced the whole time was Eve," Medlin said. "She really took an interest in Anoop's passion and his abilities as a singer."
Medlin said students and people all over Chapel Hill are rooting for Desai.
"We host watch parties on campus at clubs and bars downtown. We're trying to get the whole community to come out and support Anoop," he said. "He's so relatable, very approachable. A lot of people are taking ownership of where he is on 'American Idol.'"
The fact that Desai's doing it in Carson's honor makes it all the more meaningful for the community.
"Something this past year that a lot of us have felt is that there's a greater call to achieve things and do things you wouldn't normally do. A lot of that has to do with Eve and how she inspired us to dig a little deeper," Medlin said. "She was someone who would try to find strength in someone else, bring that to the foreground and make them the best they could be. Anoop's doing just what she would have wanted."
Reporting contributed by ABC News Radio's Andrea Dresdale.