Your elimination was somewhat controversial due to that fact that your numbers were replaced with Carrie Underwood’s on the performance night of your elimination. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Not really. To be honest with you I made it as far as I did and, like I said, every week I was like, “I’m out, I’m out.” And somehow I kept staying in. So the week that I left it was a bit of a bittersweet moment for me, I was hoping to make it to the top three. I knew there was no way I going to beat Bo or Carrie because that was their competition and I knew that Carrie was going to win from day one, basically. Like I said, I’m glad that I got as far as I did and when they said I was going home I just kind of took a deep breath and was like, “Alright, I’ve gotten this far, thank you.” And that was it.
Are you still close with anyone from your season? I know you’re pretty close with Carrie.
Yeah, Carrie and I are still really good friends and I’m thinking we’re going to be really good friends for the rest of our lives, God willing. I keep in touch with Bo; we’re still really close. Nadia just sent me a text message the other day because April 7 we’re doing this performance over at Dolphins Stadium for the Florida Marlins, for one of their games, so I will be reuniting with her. I try to stay in touch with everyone as often as I can, it’s just really difficult once the show ends, everybody just runs in different directions and it’s hard to stay in touch. Out of everybody I think Carrie and I are still really close.
Can you tell us, for you, what events took place after American Idol?
Well, after American Idol, we obviously went on tour, where we sold out 95% of our venues and it was great. I think the tour was the most fun of the whole experience and I can’t wait to get back on tour as a solo artist. Anyway, we did the tour and as soon as the tour was over, I got in a recording studio. I’ve been working with really awesome songwriters and producers over the past few years, both on the English side and the Spanish side because I’m hoping to release some songs in Spanish as well. So, I’ve been basically focusing on getting the right material because there is one thing that Simon Cowell told me at the end of the show, he said, “You have a great voice but the only thing that is going to make you successful is the right song selection. So what you need to do is lay low for a while and focus on getting the right songs because the second you get the right song you’ll shoot right back up there where you left off.”
So that’s what I’ve been doing, I’ve been recording and getting the right stuff. I’ve been working with Desmond Chow and I got some songs from Dianne Warren and they’ve been really successful and they are great songwriters. I’ve gotten some songs from Richard Marks as well and I’ve also been doing some of my own writing. We’re getting quite a nice selection of songs together. As far as that goes, I did Fear Factor, which was fun. I’d do it all over again if I had a chance. I did this show on MTV called MTV’s Little Talent Show and I was a judge, to judge kids that were performing and it was a very interesting experience. I’ve also been performing, just going to different places all over the country, just been busy with that. I’m starting a Broadway musical on May 1, called The Fantasticks, it’s an off-Broadway show. May 1 will be my debut. In April I am going to Europe to perform for the United States Air Force. I’m going to be going to Germany, England and Spain and all of those places to give our troops some entertainment and that’s going to be fun. Most importantly, recently I became a spokesperson for the Sarcoma Foundation for America, the SFA. My brother passed away from Sarcoma five months ago so as soon as that happened, we got a hold of this organization and they made me their spokesperson. Basically what I will be doing is raising awareness for this disease and I’m going to be doing a lot of great things with that. I strongly urge people to go on their website: www.curesarcoma.org. And read up on it and just check more information about it because it’s a pretty rare cancer when it comes to adults. There was a small chance that my brother would get it, he was 28 when he got it, but 20% of all cancers that young kids have are Sarcoma cancers, so it’s very important to be knowledgeable about this because a lot of kids die from this as well. So I’m going to be doing a lot of work with them, raising awareness and money as much as I can to find a cure. I’m staying busy; I’m kind of all over the place. I’m looking forward to doing this play and putting out a record this year or next. It’s taken a lot longer than we expected but I’d rather do it right rather than put out something quick and have it be one and done. When you get off the show, everything starts all over again; you have to prove yourself all over again. This journey has taken me a really long time.
Do you have any last thoughts for your fans out there?
My fans are literally the greatest fans in the world. It’s a cliché but they have been sticking with me through thick and thin. It’s amazing that they keep supporting me and loving me the way they do. They actually motivate me to succeed in the right way so they can be proud of what I am doing for many years to come.