The judges saved Matt Giraud once, but nothing could keep him from going home in fifth place on American Idol on Wednesday. Just a few hours later, the latest eliminee hopped on the phone with reporters to discuss his comparisons to Justin Timberlake, his musical goals, and getting the first-ever judges' save. Here are highlights:
- On his historic save: "I can't wait to see my name on a trivia card. I feel blessed, honored, and you know what? Being saved, I never felt so much love in a room before. I think it was one of the coolest moments in my life . . . I really didn't know people felt that passionately about me. Even one of the security guards told me he'd never heard the room get so loud."
- On whether he thinks the save should come back next season: "Yeah, for sure. It's a great thing. I don't think it was a waste of time at all, because it shows people that the judges can see something in someone."
- On what he would have done if he'd had to choose between the two groups on the elimination show: "I would have pulled an Archuleta and just sat down."
- On how he envisions his musical career: "I'd actually like to get more into the rock, or some soulful rock, maybe a twist of blues on it. I'd love to see myself as a lead man with a piano and a band around me, touring and doing good music, maybe like the likes of Gavin DeGraw and The Fray."
- On getting criticism from the judges when he performed exactly those sorts of songs: "I still picked the songs even if they were more rock-y. I still picked them if they moved me and I loved singing them. At the end of the day, I'm not going to change what I like . . . I got tons of emails and comments about those songs from fans saying that they loved them, so that kind of reassured me a little bit."
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- On the constant comparisons to Justin Timberlake: "[The comparisons are] a little bit annoying. But the thing is, I respect him a lot, and I really appreciate what he does and I knew — a white guy with soul, that's just how it works. I was waiting for that to come. But I think what I do is a lot different. I love his type of music, I can pull it off, but it's not really where I want to go musically."
- On getting praise from Simon Cowell for his final performance: "It was a great way to go out — because going out with Simon calling you brilliant and comparing you to Nat King Cole is pretty much the best way I could go."
- On his most memorable experiences in the Idol house: "Doing dueling pianos with Scott [MacIntyre] in the basement was pretty memorable. We had two keyboards, and we'd go down there and just go at it at, like, midnight."
- On how he decided when to play piano: "It might seem like there was some strategy going on, but it was more just kind of on the whim. I kind of planned on playing this next week if I made it through. I didn't want to overdo it, because piano doesn't really help you on the show — it's more like a prop."
- On what would have been his pick for next week's rock theme: "I actually thought about doing 'Simple Man' by Lynyrd Skynyrd on the keys and making it a bluesy version."
- On his reaction to being so close, yet so far, from winning: "I'm not kicking myself because I'm not winning. Obviously, we've seen past Idols who go home in fourth or fifth place and do even better than the Idols who've won, so all hope is not lost."
Photos courtesy of Fox