Chikezie singing on American Idol by Frank Micelotta/Fox
His heartfelt rendition of "If Only for One Night" prompted Simon to call him "very cheesy." But
has no regrets about singing the Luther Vandross ballad on Wednesday night. "If I had another chance, I'd do it the exact same way," he told TV Guide. "I knew Simon would hate it, but that song means a lot to me so I decided to do it anyway."
Needless to say, he wasn't surprised by the outcome. "I felt I'd done a good job, but, at this stage of the game, I might not be good enough," says the 22-year-old. "It's an amazing group of talent and I'm proud to have been part of it. I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever."
Next up, the California native has big plans for the future. "Interviews and sleep!" he jokes. "I've been sleeping between four and six hours a night so I'm looking forward to sleeping."
Luckily, though, that's not all the future holds. "Right now, while the iron is still hot, I'm going to strike as hard as I can," he says. "I'm going to start getting myself out there, selling myself, writing songs, getting an album ready and seeing if somebody will pick it up. It's time to spread my wings and see what I can do."
And, despite what we saw on
, Chikezie's biggest critic may also be his biggest fan. Simon was the first judge to hug the eliminated contestant goodbye when the credits rolled this week. "He told me I did a good job getting here and just congratulated me on what I've accomplished," says the singer. "He's not a bad guy! He's misunderstood." -
Dana Meltzer Zepeda