Paul Jolley became the second casualty of American Idol's Top 10 last Thursday, when he was voted off of the show during Beatles Week following a performance of "Eleanor Rigby." Check out our interview with the 23-year-old Tennessee native to find out why he picked Heart's "Alone" for his farewell song and to get his unfiltered thoughts on the judges' panel!
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How did you feel when Ryan Seacrest revealed the rankings last week and you saw you were in the bottom two?
Paul Jolley: You know, I woke up that morning and I felt it in my heart that I was going to go home that day. And I was fine with it. I was at peace. So when [Seacrest] announced it, I was already ready. And I knew they weren't going to keep me, because Jimmy [Iovine] had already saved me before. There was no way the judges were going to keep me. So I was already prepared to sing my final song and leave a stamp on the competition as to, what would Paul have done if he would have stayed on the show?
Did you think that your final performance of "Alone" achieved what you wanted it to?
Jolley: Yeah. I could have sung any of the songs that I had sung on the show that the band had done with us. But I chose that song, "Alone," because everyone feels alone, and I've always done all my performances and stuff with just my family going to watch with me. But now that I've been on Idol ... "'til now, I've always gotten by on my own," but now I have all my fans and supporters and troopers there to support me. And that's amazing.
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Was there a song you were really excited about singing that you didn't get a chance to?
Jolley: I know what I was going to be doing this [Motown] week. I was going to be doing [Smokey Robinson & The Miracles']"Tracks of My Tears." I was really excited about doing that song. It was going to be killer. Just sayin'. (Laughs). Everybody else was still deciding their songs, but as soon as they announced that week I was like, "This is my song."
We'd like to turn the tables a little bit and give you an opportunity to judge the judges. If you had any feedback to give them about their judging style or critiques, what would it be?
Jolley: I love [Mariah Carey's] delivery of keeping it positive but still giving a critique that someone can grow from. I like that about her. Because you don't want to just crush someone and just put them down, because in a competition like this, it's hard enough to keep your confidence up. So I think she did an all-around good job. Keith Urban was probably the best about keeping the feedback fairly positive. I would say he was pretty good about judging about something that I can grow with rather than, "Hey, that was horrible." I would say Nicki Minaj's delivery needs to be a little bit nicer towards people, because it can be really, really rude. And if she's trying to keep our respect, I feel like in order to give respect, you need to vice versa. I like Randy [Jackson]. He always gives positive feedback, and he gives his opinion. Because he's been in the industry for so long, I wish he would give more things that I can just go and work with. I'd like, from all four of them, more advice on what we can do to improve rather than just, "Oh, that performance was blah blah blah."
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For fans who watch the show every week, what's the most surprising discrepancy between the at-home experience and actually being on the show?
Jolley: There's a lot of editing. I'll put it that way. Sometimes things aren't what they seem. Sometimes there are things that need to be shown that aren't shown. And sometimes if you're the nicest person there they can make you look like the meanest person there. For instance, [in Hollywood Week when Jolley was shown forgetting a line] the judges were like, "That's probably one of the best performances of the day," and they showed it [on TV] to be, like, the worst performance of the day.
What's next for you as you prepare for the Idol tour?
Jolley: Right now I actually have an advantage over the other contestants because I get more time to pick out the songs that I want to perform on tour and get those together. Because I mean, the ones that are going to stay longer, they have to do it within a few days. So I kind of have an advantage of being better on tour. And I cannot wait for that. It's going to be awesome.
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Did you grow particularly close to any of the other contestants?
Jolley: I didn't really grow that close to anyone in particular. I think all of us were together the same amount of time, and we became just all one big family.
Any final thoughts on the Idol experience in general?
Jolley: Thank you to all the supporters and fans that are there, and please continue to keep following me! I can't wait for everyone to find out what I'm going to do with the rest of my career.
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American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.