In his exit interview with the media yesterday, Chris Sligh admitted some surprising things, but probably the biggest surprise of all was that he had wanted to quit the "American Idol" competition.
Here are some quotes from that interview:
On his losing momentum since the beginning of the show: You know, I never came into this wanting to win it. I come from an indie, alternative-rock background, and I think winning "American Idol" would hurt what I was really going for. And I think what kind of solidified it in my mind was when I was universally trashed for my arrangement of [Diana Ross'] "Endless Love." I kind of thought, "This isn't really the competition for me." I actually almost dropped out that week. I went to the guy from 19 [Productions, the company behind "Idol"], and I was like, "If I drop out when I get to the top 10, can I still be on tour?" They were like, "No, you have to get voted out."
On whether he ever wanted to win: I mean, there is that competitive side of me that kind of kicks in. After that top 12 performance, I kind of took some time to decompress and talk to some people that I trusted, and then I came out and I was like, "I want to do it on my own terms, and if that means that I get cut early, then that means I get cut early." With "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," it definitely was a riskier choice, but I feel like one of the things that was a little frustrating was that if you look through the six songs I did on the show, all six songs were risks in one way or another. I felt like that was ignored, and really the judges never commented on my voice and that was frustrating for me.
On whether it is possible to compete on Idol and joke about it at the same time: I kind of wonder that myself. ... It's funny because I love the show but at the same time there are some cheesy aspects that I poked fun at. And there are people that love the show so much that anything that is bad said about the show or especially if you say something bad about Simon [Cowell] ... there are people that will literally write you hate mail. People telling me they'd hope I would die because I told Simon I didn't sound like Teletubbies. So it kind of freaked me out, because I was like, "Wow, people take 'American Idol' very, very seriously." I would hope people would realize that me joking around about the show is very tongue-in-cheek because I can't be too upset with "American Idol" if they are making me famous.
On Sanjaya: I think that people underestimate Sanjaya [Malakar]. I think Sanjaya is actually a very good vocalist. I mean, if you go to AmericanIdol.com and you download his songs or even just listen to a preview, he has a good voice. I think he is just 17 years old. I mean, when I was 17 years old, I didn't know how to sing in a live situation. I think that he is a very, very sweet kid and I have a lot of respect for him and I do not envy his position at all.
On struggling with his final song, The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic": When I sang with Gwen [Stefani], that was on Saturday, and I just picked that song out on Friday afternoon and had changed my song. I originally was going to do "Give a Little Bit" by Supertramp, and the Goo Goo Dolls redid it recently. But I really wanted to challenge myself a little bit more than "Give a Little Bit." I had never really looked at the music [for "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"] and had never really actually even listened to the song, so I never realized that it was going to be quite that much of a challenge. Then by the time I got to rehearsals on Monday, I had started to get the rhythm down a little bit, and actually I went back and listened to my performance from Tuesday probably about 10 or 15 times, and it wasn't a great performance, but honestly it wasn't as bad as the judges made it seem.
On his bet with Phil Stacey: I just had this feeling in my heart that I was going home. Pretty much no one gets away from being trashed like I was on Tuesday night unscathed. I told Phil that I was going home and he was like, "There is no way you are going home before me." And I said, "Dude, I bet you 50 bucks I'm going home." And he took me up on it, and I won.
On whether he will rejoin his band, Half Past Forever: Yeah, when I get back to South Carolina. They put out a CD before I tried out, and we were getting record-label interest before "American Idol," so doors should open up for us.
Some other bits and pieces from the interview:
"I made the Top Ten. That was my goal."
"I wanted to make the tour. I wanted to be able to make music for my living, so I don't have to work at the marketing company that I was working at."
He talked about being kicked out of Christian fundamentalist college Bob Jones University for attending a contemporary Christian concert featuring the group For Him. He enrolled at another Christian school, North Greenville University, and is three credits shy of a music degree. Leaving Bob Jones "was actually good, because I had been trying to figure out how to leave," he said.
Sligh is scheduled to appear on the show's May 24 finale, but for now he plans to return home to his wife and his church, where hundreds of people gather each week to hear him play his electric guitar and sing as part of services. "I definitely am looking forward to getting back home and kind of having a normal life for a few weeks," he said.
Malakar's pony-hawk hair-do this week was killer, "I could never pull that off. I give Sanjaya props for pulling that off."
Sligh said since he wasn't able to hold or play his guitar, his rhythm - a frequent criticism of the judges - was thrown off. He also said that since he wasn't allowed to perform his own music, he felt forced to take "pop songs that sound great at four minutes and stuff it into a minute and a half."
He implicitly acknowledged that his "Hi Dave!" shout-out on last week's show was aimed at the founder of VoteForTheWorst.com ("I don't know if I should answer that question," he told a reporter while chuckling), but was quick to say he regretted the move. "It was a poor choice because certain people took it as disrespect for the show," Sligh said. "Sometimes with a snarky sense of humor, it can come across as that, but I sincerely didn't mean that ... it was stupid."
Season 5 finalist Kellie Pickler will be doing double duty for CMT. First, she will host "The 2007 CMT Music Awards Video of the Year Special" on April 9. The show will give fans a closer look at the eight videos nominated for Video of the Year the 2007 CMT Music Awards.
Pickler, a CMT Music Awards nominee, also will be a presenter at the show, which airs live on April 16 from Nashville's Curb Event Center at Belmont University. Jeff Foxworthy hosts. Other presenters include Barbara Mandrell, Jason Aldean, Josh Turner, LeAnn Rimes, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Taylor Swift. Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood will perform, as will Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban from Australia, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, Toby Keith and Bon Jovi.
PAULA DOES POLITICS
The Washington Post reports that Paula Abdul was one of the attendees at a fundraiser for New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's run for the White House. About 700 invitees paid $2,300 each to dine with Clinton at the Beverly Hills estate of supermarket magnate Ron Burkle. About 250 of those guests coughed up an additional $2,300 per person to attend a pre-dinner VIP reception where the senator from New York posed with donors for photographs. Other attendees included Barbra Streisand and her husband, James Brolin, Ted Danson, Motown founder Berry Gordy and a host of media industry executives. The event raised a whopping $2.6 million for the Democratic presidential wannabe.
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