Wednesday night saw the first elimination of the current series of American Idol, and it was gospel dinger Curtis Finch Jr. who got his marching orders, much to everyone’s surprise.
But it wasn’t only the exit of Curtis, who has been a very vocal favourite of judge Nicki Minaj from the start, which caused the most shock.
First of all was the new open voting system, which ranked each contestant in the order of how many votes they got (except for the top three who were just classed as top three), which showed that Curtis had received the least support from the voting public.
If that wasn’t shocking enough, the judges are all allowed one ‘save’ of an eliminated contestant for the series, but when Curtis did not get given that, Nicki Minaj stormed off the stage in protest.
Now that the dust seems to have settled down somewhat, Unreality TV were invited to a Q&A session with Curtis himself to find out if he holds Minaj’s absence partly responsible for his exit, and what the future holds for him now that he has left the show:
Q: What kind of album do you see yourself making now that Idol is over for you?
A: “I see myself being a very inspirational type singer just talking about love, just talking about how you can overcome and make it and so I don’t really know what that entails this moment, but I just really want to inspire everybody across America.”
Q: Did you regret your song choice or are you happy with the decisions that you made, and that were made on your behalf?
A: “I don’t regret any decision I made on the show because American Idol has been so influential in my life and so everything I’ve done, every decision I’ve made, I made for a reason, and not on a whim. I would say I committed myself totally and to the songs and the lyrics. I can only do my best so I don’t regret.”
Q: What did you have planned for next week if you had stayed in?
A: “Really the same as every week, to just really give it my all and do the best that I could, but America didn’t see it that way so here I am.
“You never know it’s always about what I embody as an artist. I really want to make the crowd smile – if it’s a slow song or an up-tempo song it really just depends on the theme and what I really feel I can deliver to the audience.”
Q: Nicki Minaj is such a big supporter of yours but she never got to see your performance, do you think that may have affected your performance, and do you think her not being there to comment after might have affected the voting public?
A: “Absolutely not because Nicki Minaj is not the only judge on the panel and so at the end of the day if when I am done singing and none of the judges have any responses, it still left up to America to pick up the phone or use the Idol Apple or go online and vote for me and so I think things were really inevitable. You can’t change yesterday, you can really just focus on tomorrow and make sure that everything is in place as much as it can be for your future.
“If Nicki was there, or if she wasn’t I really feel like things happen for a reason so if she wasn’t there it wasn’t meant to be.
“When I got off stage she was the first person I saw. She gave me a high-fiving and told me that I did a great job so that was very warming for me because I’ve always enjoyed great support from all four judges, it was good to see her face.”
Q: Were you surprised that you didn’t get the judges ‘save’?
A: “You never know with American Idol. Sometimes things work in your favour and sometimes they don’t. I didn’t expect the judges to save me, after all it was only week one, and there is such great talent this season, everyone left is extremely talented, I know whoever they do chose to save will be very well-deserved.
“I really don’t try to harp on or think about who said no because that is something that in the past and I can’t go back and change it, nor can anyone who is upset about it, all I can do now is look forward to the future and strive to be the best that I can be where I am now.”
Q: What did you think of Nicki’s reaction when she said that she would walk out of the show of you left?
A: “It made me feel very warm and good because really I think I sing from the heart and so I think I must have touched Nicki’s heart, which makes me very happy.”
Q: Did you find it even more nerve-wracking when you found out that the results were to be ranked?
A: “My motto is always expect the worst so then I won’t be surprised because you know when the cameras are on you, you really can’t go back and re-do any facial expressions or anything that you may want to say or do and so I was prepared either way to make it through, or to go home so here we are.”
Q: The buzz online amongst your fans is that they are going to stop watching the show in protest, what do you want to say to them to make sure they keep tuning in?
A: “I really want everybody that has been supporting me to keep supporting my friends because I’m talented I know that, but at the same time there are a lot of talented stars still left in the competition. They are incredibly talented so I want everyone to vote for them as well because these guys deserve to be, every single one of them, the next American Idol.”
Q: Is there any other show like Idol that you would consider, or have auditioned for?
“No! Absolutely not, American Idol is the show of all shows. It searches around the world for talent and so people really get a chance to be discovered and so without American Idol there would not be The Sing Off or The Voice and all these other shows that people, in my opinion, have as an example of something. There always has to be a chalkboard, somebody to learn something off of and American Idol is just that – it’s the best, number one show! I love it!
“I’m always looking to see what my next step will be. The summer tour is coming up with the other Idol’s but also I would love to sit down in the studio work with people like Alicia Keys or Kelly Clarkson. Then maybe a part in Glee and do some acting, maybe Broadway but then the sky is the limit. There are no limits when it comes to what I feel I can do.”
Q: What was going through your mind when you had to perform in front of the audience for the first time?
A: “I really want to make them smile because I really feel that I can instil joy and I really want everybody that hears me sing to feel happy because there are so many things going on the world to frown about. And so to use this gift, nothing I’ve given myself but that I feel that God has given me, and to use it in such a way to put a smile on people’s faces, is the best thing in the world”
Q: You and Mariah had a very special connection, and she has been tweeting you some very nice things. Was she supportive when you came off stage after elimination?
A: “Absolutely she always gives me great feedback, but she really didn’t say anything different since I’ve been on the show, just told me to keep my head up, remain consistent and remain 100% authentic.
“What you see on television isn’t necessarily what you get. I mean Mariah has been supportive of me both privately and publicly. She said I made her cry and that there were moments when I sang that she really needed.”
Q: In your opinion how did you find the judges this year? Do think there were critical enough, or do you wish they might have been a little more so?
A: “The judges always talk with so much passion and so, however they feel about contestant in a good light or a bad light, they go on and say it is as it is. There is this thing that exists called favour and I really feel like I have I have been favoured in this competition. It was nothing I did on my own, I really believe its God and so the fact I bought consistency every time I sang and I gave it my all I think the judges recognised that.”
Watch Curtis’ American idol performance in the clip below and tune into American Idol this Thursday on 5* – 9PM.