Last night John Park and Jermaine Sellers were eliminated from American Idol
. This afternoon, they both took the time to answer questions about their time on American Idol
and what's next for them.
While the two couldn't be more different as singers or interview subjects, John was reserved and thoughtful and Jermaine remained the loquacious preacher that we saw interacting with the judges, both attributed their eliminations to the same flaw: an inability to focus. It turns out whether you're a lifelong church singer or the lead vocalist of your college glee group, when it comes to 30 million people watching you and the promise of Simon Cowell's wrath, there's no real preparation for Idol.
Here are the highlights of Jermaine and John's interviews.
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John's favorite Idol
was the original, Kelly Clarkson, he says he "vividly remembers her finale show when she sang "A Moment Like This" and she was crying."
His favorite part of the Idol
experience wasn't getting hit on by Shania Twain, but rather meeting the other contestants and making lifelong friends, including Tyler, Casey, and Lee.
While the rest of America cringed at Simon Cowell's curt comment that Purple Haze, John's collegiate choir, "Would be getting back their lead singer this week," John took the comment with a grain of salt. "He was basically saying I might go home this week. He of course dramatizes so people at home watching can get a kick out of it. I don't really mind it, that's just how he is on TV. After the elimination happened, he came up to me and shook my hand and said, 'Good job for coming this far.' He's not that mean of a guy, actually."
Perhaps the most surprising part of my interview with John was that he never saw himself as the pre-season favorite as we all did, "I don't know if the judges had such high expectations for me, I felt that I was one of the people who barely got through."
When it came to his struggles on the big Idol
stage, John blamed that on song choice and an inability to focus. "I think it was mostly song choice and nerves. I definitely got distracted by the cameras and the fact the judges were going to criticize me in front of 30 million people. I think that took me away from singing the song honestly and interpreting it in my own way."
Had he stayed around next week, John was going to surprise America with a Stevie Wonder, Marc Broussard or Britney Spears Song. Which reminds me of Sesame Street song, "One of These Things is not Like the Others." It should be no surprise that John would choose a Stevie Wonder tune though, he sites Wonder as one of his heroes saying, "If I got a chance to work with him even for a minute that would be a dream come true."
John will be heading back to Chicago now that his time on Idol
is over, he'll return to school and continue to pursue his musical dreams, though Idol made him realize he may not be a performer. "This experience definitely made me realize I want to pursue music instead of going back to school and studying economics. I'd like to have a career in the industry even if it's not performing."Jermaine Sellers
For a man who never met a high note or vocal run he didn't love, Jermaine was surprisingly soft spoken during our interview. For Jermaine, singing is all about soul, ministering and message. For example, Jermaine said he sang "What's Going On" this week because he felt like "People aren't paying attention to what's really going on in the world, in places like Haiti and Chile. We're focused on other stuff and not what's really going on in the world right now."
While he knew the judges' wanted him to sing more contemporary and youthful songs, Jermaine felt that wouldn't have been staying true to himself. "I just wanted to sing songs that had meaning behind them. And maybe that was a problem for me, picking songs that were so much older and more mature. American Idol
is for teeny boppers, they want to hear more contemporary stuff like Keri Hilson that knocks you down and that's not the kind of artist I am. That's not my soul. I was talking about peace, love, respect, joy."
Jermaine swears he left lots and lots of vocal runs out and didn't use all the tricks in his bag. "I kept pulling back and pulling back, there was a lot more I could have done. If I pulled any more back, I felt like I would've been whispering." He blames the camera, not the vocal runs and talking back to the judges' for appearing like a diva: "The camera can make you look more arrogant and diva-ish. Anyone who knows me knows I'm the coolest guys. I really do wear an onesie to bed. I hated that I was made to look like something I'm not. But it's television. I felt like every night I went out there I sang from my heart. What messed me up the most was I couldn't focus because I was afraid of what people would say about me over-singing."
Jermaine said he knew his Idol
days were numbered after Joe Munoz was eliminated during week one, "Joe Munoz, when I seen him go home and he was so good. I said to myself, okay, well, if someone that good is going home right now and I know I'm a good singer too... If someone that good can go home, I know they'll send me home."
While Jermaine and John's time on American Idol
is over, both hope to do something in the music industry. John hopes to follow in the vein of John Mayer, John Legend, and other pop neo-soul acts, while Jermaine would like to be the '10s answer the BeBe and CeCe Winans.
(Images Courtesy of FOX)