"Divisive" can be a great quality for established performers. (It gets people talking, and any publicity is good publicity, right?) But as we saw last night on The X Factor,
divisiveness -- about her range as an artist, and between the ever-bickering judges -- proved to be Drew Ryniewicz's undoing.
Or, at least, that was part of Drew's problem. Her mentor Simon Cowell blamed himself when Drew landed in the Bottom Two
after her performance of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" proved vocally strong, but too theatrically simple and stilted for the other judges. (That damn chair!)
But on her conference call with the media this morning, Drew didn't blame Simon. She blamed herself. Though never questioning her unique voice and talent (nobody questions that!), Drew talked about how she should have chosen an uptempo song sooner, how her last few performances weren't her best, and how she pretty much unraveled once she found out she was in the Bottom Two. Still, she's quite positive about her future without The X Factor. Read on for highlights from the Arizona teen's impressively candid conference call:
On whether the judges' rivalries could have played a part in her elimination:Drew:
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Honestly, that could be a possibility just because Simon, week after week, wanted to go against [L.A. Reid] and wanted to go against [Nicole Scherzinger] and [Paula Abdul] and he -- I learned to accept that because I like doing slow songs. Don't get me wrong, I loved all of the songs that I did.
It's just that if I'm not going to show being versatile, people aren't going to want to vote for me, because they want to see everything that I am capable of. I felt like the judges had enough of maybe seeing youthful songs and they didn't think it was worth a shot with Simon, because I know that -- Simon apologized and they knew that it wasn't me.
They told me, they said, "I know that that last performance definitely wasn't your choice," and I think they just really wanted Simon to realize that he can't just let somebody do one thing, because I have so much more that I can show -- so much more -- and Simon knows that.
On whether she agrees with Simon that her elimination was his fault, because of his song choice:
I don't believe that it's all Simon's fault. You know, he did want me to do a slow song and he very much enforced me to use the chair, but overall, I still have the overall decision and I didn't fight for exactly what I should have. So, it's not quite all his fault. I could have told him, "No."
On her final comment about doing the show for God, and whether she'll pursue a career in Christian music:
I definitely, definitely want to be part of secular music -- part of all the different kinds of music. Overall, what I said at the end, that's why I'm here and that's what I'm believing, but that doesn't quite make my music in that genre.
On Simon as a mentor:
You know, I don't feel that Simon pushed me to do anything. I feel like we both kind of -- we thought that slow music could happen over and over. Finally, when I didn't agree anymore, it was too late. I got eliminated. But overall, I stayed pretty true to myself as an artist. I would like to do something upbeat in the future.
On her survival song, which helped lead to her elimination:
It actually was very difficult just because I wasn't really feeling that performance quite. I really wanted to move around and do different things, so it was actually a very difficult performance for me. I don't regret anything, and I would never turn back on anything, because there's always a plan and obviously winning The X Factor
isn't the exact plan for me.
On whether the experience has sunk in yet:
This is unbelievable. Getting to be on The X Factor
was just an unbelievable journey and I couldn't have asked for a better journey to take to go into my singing career, because it was so surreal. I got to work with Simon Cowell, and we were like buddy-buddy. So, it's something that is worth taking, but it feels like a dream now -- now that I'm looking back at it -- it feels like totally a dream.
On how she felt when she was in the Bottom Two:
I knew that I wasn't going through. I could see it. I could see it in the judges' faces and the way they were looking at me. I knew that my "save me" song wasn't my best performance, and I knew that my performance the night before wasn't my greatest performance.
I haven't been showing being versatile, so I didn't really expect the judges to want to save me after week after week they told me to do something different, and Simon insisted on me doing the same thing again and again. It was okay for awhile, but I could see it in the judges that they didn't -- I knew they weren't going to want to save me. Especially after my "save me" song, it just wasn't the greatest.
On the debate over whether she should branch out into more uptempo songs:
Well honestly, I was planning on doing an upbeat song this week and I've been trying to get my songs to be upbeat. Simon wanted them to be slow and I trusted him in that. He was my mentor, but I wanted to do something upbeat for awhile.
But I also wanted to do my slow songs, because I am good at that. I am good at doing slow songs, but I gotta change it up, and I didn't get a chance to do that. So, you bet my album is going to have a variety of different tempo songs -- upbeat, slow, emotional, non-emotional.
On her proudest moment on the show:
My proudest moment on the show was, honestly, I think my proudest moment was when I did "Just a Dream" by Nelly. I felt so comfortable with that song, because it wasn't super fast, but it wasn't super slow. I got to move around and I got to be Drew.
That was the type of music that I wanted to do in the first place. So, that was the most exciting week for me and the most comfortable week for me, and I was proud of that performance. I felt like a lot went into it and I gave a lot to it.
On what she's learned from being on The X Factor:
I've learned so much. I gotta think about that for a minute. I feel like I've learned that I can do more, that I can do more. I didn't quite get to show all of that on the show, but after last night and after everything I've been through in this competition, it started to build up to really help me realize that if I don't believe in myself, people aren't going to believe in me. And so, I have to believe that I can do things like an upbeat song and that I can do things like dancing, and then I could be able to do other types of stuff.
On what's next for her:
I'm excited. I'm really excited to see what I can go into as an artist, because I cannot wait to get an album and start writing with people, because I haven't gotten a lot of chances to write. I'm just not that great at it, but I am more than excited to have my first album. That is going to be my first child and I can't wait!
(Image courtesy of FOX)