Ah, the best-laid plans... South Carolinian Chris Sligh had planned to sing "Give a Little Bit" (first proffered by Supertramp and later covered by the Goo Goo Dolls) on last Tuesday's American Idol, but changed gears relatively late in the game — the previous Friday afternoon — by instead cueing up The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." Explaining his perhaps critical misstep, 29-year-old Chris told TVGuide.com, "I wanted to challenge myself a little bit more. I just didn't realize it was going to be quite that much of a challenge."
Indeed, Chris had difficulty "staying in the pocket," offering an off-rhythm rendition that wowed neither Randy nor Paula and that Simon dismissed as "a mess." Having revisited his swan song "probably 10 or 15 times" since, Chris tells us, "It wasn't great.... But honestly, it was not as bad as the judges made it seem." That said, he allows, "As soon as they gave me the spanking they did, I knew I was going home."
As for the week's other headline-maker, Chris gives Sanjaya props for his follicle-hoisting, jaw-dropping "pony-hawk," saying, "I could never pull that off."
In a conference call with reporters, Chris also had this to say about...
... how he almost called it quits two weeks ago:
"I come from an indie/alternative-rock background, so for me, winning American Idol would hurt what I was going for. What solidified that in my mind was when I was trashed for my arrangement of 'Endless Love.' I thought, 'This isn't the competition for me,' and I actually almost dropped out that week. I went to [Idol's production company] and was like, 'If I drop out when I make the top 10, can I still be on tour?' and they were like, 'No, you have to get voted out.' So I said, 'We'll see what happens.'"
... working with the luminous Gwen Stefani:
"She's a lot prettier in person than she is on camera!"
... winning ($50) by losing:
"Phil [Stacey] was like, 'There's no way that you're going home before me,' and I said, 'Dude, I'll bet you $50.' He took me up on it, and I won."
... having his gift Sligh-ted:
"All six songs I did were risks in one way or another, and I felt like that was ignored. The judges never commented on my voice, which was a bit frustrating for me. At least say, 'You have great vocals, but I didn't like the arrangement.' But it was never that."
... Bob Jones University, which Sligh attended for several years, being "disappointed with the direction [Chris] has gone musically":
"I don't want to throw them under the bus. It's just that their sect of Christianity is not really what I want to be associated with. I actually got kicked out for going to a Christian-contemporary concert by a mid-'90s pop-rock band called 4Him."
... Simon's kind words to Curly:
"Simon came up to me afterwards and said, 'Chris, the reason you're gone is that you lost your sparkle. Get your sparkle back, because I really think you're a star.' That was really nice of him to say."
... Sanjaya's bum rap:
"If you go to AmericanIdol.com and download his songs, [you'll see] he has a good voice. He's a very, very sweet kid, and I think that he gets a bum rap. I do not envy his position at all, but he has a good sense of humor about the ribbing that he gets."
... the three ways he would alter Idol:
"I wish they would let songwriters sing their own songs.... I wish they would let people play instruments. I know Taylor [Hicks] has talked about this, too, and so has Chris Daughtry.... The third thing is that those who enjoy blogging should be able to blog about the experience [as they go through it]. But there are secret parts of the show that they don't want to get out, and that's the reason they [shut down] the [singers'] blogs."