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Interview With Eliminated American Idol Contestant Danny Gokey

Danny Gokey: "I Didn't Get Into This For the Money"

Danny Gokey was an early favorite on American Idol this season, but his path stopped just short of the finale when he was eliminated on Wednesday. This morning, he spoke with reporters about his big post-Idol dreams: the Milwaukee-based singer said he wants to "start a movement" with his music, combining it with the goals of Sophia's Heart Foundation, which he started in honor of his late wife. He also sized up Kris and Adam heading into next week's finale and clarified that no, he's not taking money from LensCrafters for making that heart symbol with his hands. Here are highlights:

  • On the pressure of being an early favorite: "I felt like I had so much on me in the beginning of the show that I had to outdo myself every week. . . . I'm still growing as a musician, yet people expect this to come out of me, and I felt at times like I just wasn't there yet. . . . Maybe people got disappointed, like, 'Man, I thought you were better than that.'"
  • On his much-discussed "Dream On" scream: "I was actually thinking about that this morning — I was like, maybe that was kind of like the downfall. I really wanted to have a big song that week and I took a big risk. . . . So late in the competition, you don't want to have a performance like that. Everything in that performance was good up to that point."
  • On sizing up Kris and Adam for the finale: "Kris, you know, obviously he's really artistic, and Adam has a way on the show of capturing the audience. . . . This competition is not over yet. I feel like it's going to be a very tight race this next week. . . . One thing in my book about Kris is that he's very mellow, and that's one character trait I've always wanted. I'm an intense personality at times. Adam, he's just a great guy. I really can't fault him on anything. I think Adam is who he is onstage and who he is offstage. He's very creative — he lives creative, he dresses creative, he talks from that perspective."
  • On what he learned about himself from Idol: "I learned a lot about how pressure has an effect on a person. For me, this whole experience, I learned to overcome things in my life — overcome insecurities, overcome doubts. Sometimes you really didn't want to go out on that stage — I felt maybe unprepared, or 'Wow, is anyone going to like what I'm doing?' When I had the good performances, especially this past week, I was so thankful."

To see what Gokey had to say about making his Idol songs fit his style, what his album might sound like, and what he hopes his musical future will be, just


  • On how he imagines the sound on his album: "I really want to do a soulful album, but I want to mix it with nice beats, like nice R&B beats, beats that get people's heads moving, and mix it with a hint of a Latin vibe. I was with my wife for 12 years and she was Puerto Rican, and I'm so into sounds from that area."
  • On getting paired with Adam in the final two on Wednesday: "I knew that was it for me. I was very confident in the fact that it was it for me. In fact, the whole day I felt that it was it for me."
  • On telling Ryan he wanted the show to be over: "It is what it is. I don't want all the drama. I just didn't want my heart to have to endure another — if it's going to be a disappointment, let me get through the disappointment. Like, 'Oh, man, it didn't work out the way I wanted it to work out, but let's move on.'"
  • On whether it's now required to make a song your own to do well on Idol: "I think you have to change up every song. It's funny because there are some songs that I prepared and changed up that I never got to do — there are a few times I picked a song and I changed the arrangement and it didn't work. It's more than singing. People want to see a creative element — they want to see an old song made fresh again. Ever since last year, you can't go on singing an old arrangement of a song."
  • On his next steps: "During this competition I have not been able to put my heart in Sophia's Heart Foundation. I'm going to call my team and I'm going to start getting focuses laid down for what's the agenda. . . . This foundation means so much to me. It is the legacy of my wife and of myself here on this earth. I have a lot of open doors and I want to walk through those doors. I want to have a line of glasses, as funny as that sounds. I want to start working on my own material and thinking about the future."
  • On Simon practically urging people to vote for Adam on Tuesday: "It is what is. It doesn't make me mad, it doesn't disappoint me. That's what he believes is going to make the most money. . . . I didn't get into this for the money. I didn't get in for the glamorous lifestyle. My goals are so different, and maybe it didn't line up with what they feel are the goals of a pop star. I want to have a movement with my music."
  • On those famous glasses: "I started in the beginning with 15 [pairs], and I have about 50 or more. Being on American Idol, glasses have rained from the sky."

Photos courtesy of Fox

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