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'American Idol's Devin Velez: The odds are scary right now for a guy to win


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/02/2013 

Devin Velez was eliminated from American Idol during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox, determining the twelfth season's Top 7 finalists.
 
Devin, an 18-year-old from Chicago, IL, became the third finalist sent home from American Idol's twelfth season after he received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 8 finalists performing songs by artists from Detroit -- such as Motown.

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Devin's elimination became official after American Idol judges Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, and Keith Urban announced they were not going to prevent his departure by using their one "The Judges' Save" of the season. The decision would have to be unanimous amongst the judges to utilize the special save, and in Devin's case, the vote was not.
 
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Devin talked to Reality TV World about his American Idol experience. To read what he had to say, click here. Below is the rest of Devin's interview. 

I was sorry to see you go last night.

Devin Velez: Oh, thank you, sir.  It's all good.  It's a part of the process.  Sooner or later, everyone has to go except one, and my time was eighth place and I gladly take it. 

I was just wondering, do you think the group song did you in, was it that you were unfairly judged?

Devin Velez: Not really unfairly.  I think that I am a little at fault though I didn't forget my lyrics.  I think that when you're in a group, because one person is representing everyone else, I think it should have been my job as a brother to the other two and we could have maybe discussed learning the lyrics a lot better -- just because if we knew that we were going to be so unsure of our lyrics getting onstage, we probably should not have done the song.

But what happened happened, and I tried to save the song to the best of my ability, but it wasn't my job to do so, and I know that. Though my solo performance went well, because our group performance was following the solo performance, I know that that's what America remembered freshly in their minds, as opposed to my solo performance.

Now that you're off Idol, I understand that you want to win Prom King at your military school.  How do you go about winning Prom King, and what are your chances and when do they decide?

Devin Velez: I don't know, man, it's difficult.  Prom is June 1, and so I'm kind of hoping that with all this publicity and stuff that I don't get too busy just because I am still a kid and I still do have my last teenage years ahead of me and I want to live them up. 

And my dream has always been to just win Prom King, and I won Homecoming King this year while I was still there, before I came to Idol, and I think it's just, I don't know, it's always been my dream.  And so if this dream was achievable, I don't think that one's too far out of reach now that I'm going back home.

There are only two guys left now. Are you ready to concede that a girl's going to win this year? 

Devin Velez: You know, you can never be sure.  I know that the odds are scary right now, but if the guys step it up, they do have a chance.  I think that all the people that are left, it's really scary the way this competition is going to go, just because the talent that's left is amazing.  These people, they're some of the best singers I've ever heard.

When are you coming back to Chicago, and are you going to go right back into classes at Rickover? Are you going to continue to work at Starbucks as well?

Devin Velez: I'm stopping in New York for a couple of days and then I'm going back home.  But when I do get back, I'm hoping to go back to school.  I'm not sure how that transition's going to work, just because we did have to sign me out temporarily because I had to miss time for Idol

As for Starbucks, I want to for money reasons. It was my job, that was another passion of mine, but I don't know how that's going to work out because it might be a little hard.  Now that people know who I am, I'm not just going to be writing caramel macchiato on cups, but I might be signing them and passing them off, and that's going to get crazy.  So I'm debating whether I'm going back to be a barista or not.

What about your plans for college this fall, do you still want to go to the music college or is that out of the realm of possibility right now?

Devin Velez: You know, depending on how the American Idol tour goes, if I have time when I get back, I mean, I can always enroll into college. But I would still love to get my degree in music education there at VanderCook.

I think it's been my dream for the last year and a half, and I keep in contact with those people and I've fallen in love with the team there. And the students and the faculty, they're just really good and I think I'd learn a lot from that school. So yes, I'm definitely thinking about it.

I wanted to ask, we're pretty far into the competition now, which week did you find the most challenging and why?

Devin Velez: The most challenging, I'd have to say was when I sang "Temporary Home."  That theme was past Idol songs and, I don't know, it was interesting just because there were so many song choices and yet I didn't feel that I could have done any of them justice, as the meanings weren't that great.

And when I heard "Temporary Home," I had an emotional connection with the song meaning.  But I don't think that I had any moments to shine in the song, and so that week, it was really not that great for me because it was the first week that I was in the bottom two.  So I think that was the most challenging.

What critique do you think you'll remember the most and take away from any of the judges or even Jimmy Iovine?

Devin Velez: It's from all of them, which is, "Stay true to yourself." I think that I've been pretty consistent in doing that on the show.  I'm the same before the show, I was the same on the show, and I'm going to be the same after the show.  Idol hasn't changed me.  I have grown as a person, but I haven't changed who I am. 

I think that America fell in love with me for a reason, and I don't want to change -- not just to let them down, but also not to let myself down.  I think that you should be proud of who you are and the decisions that you've made as a person, and so, I can say that I have no regrets on the show and if I could go back and change anything I wouldn't.

I was just wondering, who are you going to keep in touch with from the show?

Devin Velez: Oh man, I'd have to say [Burnell Taylor], [Lazaro Arbos], [Curtis Finch Jr.], [Angela "Angie" Miller], [Kree Harrison], [Janelle Arthur], [Amber Holcomb], and [Candice Glover].  Oh wait, that's all of them!  Yes, there's no way I can narrow it down.  These people are my family. We've been together for three months.  I've fallen in love with these people. 

Almost all of the Top 5 guys, I've had them as roommates. And the girls, we've gotten closer and closer throughout the weeks.  I think that's the saddest part about leaving the competition, it isn't leaving the stage, but it's leaving your brothers and sisters.

Well, you have such great fans, the Devineers, what would you like to say to them?

Devin Velez: I'd like to say thanks for the love and support no matter what.  I know that everyone was really, really upset when I left home last night, but I just want them to know that as long as I have my Devineers, my God, and the support from my parents, I think that anything is achievable.  And I know that I'm going to go far in life, not just because of Idol but because of the great support that I do have. 

When you were told to go backstage after the group number, how did you guys deal with that?

Devin Velez: You know, it was a little difficult just because right when you get off stage, as an artist, you're your [own] worst critic.  You're always thinking about all the negative things that you had during the performance and if you could change things, you're trying to play it back and changing it in your head. 

I really was okay.  I did feel a little embarrassed just because this far into the competition, we shouldn't be having little mistakes like forgetting the lyrics.  I totally agree with Nicki Minaj when she said that it felt like it was Hollywood Week.

But mistakes do happen and the pressure does get to us, we're still human.  But it was a little disappointing just to see that once you're so far into the competition, that that was the mistake that we made.  That's a mistake that shouldn't even be...

Right now, we should just know our lines and know our parts.  But what happened happened, and I know that stuff like that shouldn't happen again.  I think that that was a wakeup call for all of us, whether we went home or whether we stayed.

Did you have a feeling that you'd be saved, or did you know the writing was on the wall?

Devin Velez: I kind of knew the writing was on the wall, man.  Nothing of course was definite until the moment of, but even the night prior, I was getting this feeling and I was like, "All right, now I think I'm going home."  And I wasn't sad about it, I'm still not sad about it now.

And it's weird because people are expecting me to be all mopey and crying, but my thing is, making Top 10 was winning for me -- everything after that was falling action.  It's a great accomplishment.  Some of the contestants on the show that are still left, they've auditioned two or three times, and this is my first time auditioning and I've made it this far.  It's a great accomplishment and I'm so blessed to have made it this far.

Is there any week that you would have chosen to do a different song for any reason, looking back now?

Devin Velez: No.  Even the week that I first was in the bottom two when I sang "Temporary Home," though I didn't have any moments to shine vocal-wise, I've always had a personal connection with that song.

And so, I'm a firm believer in staying true to who you are, and I think that I make decisions as an artist and I think them through before I make them. So the fact that I've gotten to where I've gotten, it was my doing and no one else's and I wouldn't go back and change anything.

You mentioned that this was the first time you ever tried out for Idol. Now, having gone through the whole experience, was there anything that really surprised you about Idol that you didn't think would happen? 

Devin Velez:  Yes, see, I think that looking back at the show, after watching every episode of every season, when you see Top 10, you see the photo shoot, then you see the commercials and you're just like, "Man, these people are just rolling in money and they're sleeping in and getting room service."

And the biggest wakeup call was we get no sleep, call times are super early and we have to go through hair and makeup, and dress rehearsals, and run throughs, and press, and our schedules are really, really tight. 

And so one of the things I'm taking away from this is a lot more respect for people that work on television programs like this, just because, I mean, they work so hard to make us look good and it just looks so nice and sweet on the TVs but there's a lot of effort that goes into it.

What about the summer tour -- have you ever seen an Idol summer tour before?

Devin Velez: I haven't been to one of the tours in all 12 seasons, but you know what? I am so excited to do it, man.  I think it's every performer's dream to do that, to perform across the country and have fans shouting out your name and singing with the people you love. 

I think what I'm looking forward to most is that I'm going to be singing with the same people that I was a couple of weeks ago, except we're not competing in a competition.  So the fact that we're going to just be able to sing and not have anybody go home, we're going to still be together, I think that's going to be the greatest experience ever.

And you'll get to sing more than a minute and a half! That will help.

Devin Velez: Absolutely.  Hallelujah to that!

Any final remarks, Devin?

Devin Velez: Yes, I want to say thank you guys for having me.  The fact that I'm leaving the show doesn't mean that this is the end of Devin, and I've spoken about this before, I'm not changing who I am for America, I'm not changing who I am for family or friends, and I'm not changing who I am unless I want to change, and right now I don't. 

I think that America fell in love with me for a reason and I'm going to continue to give them 100% percent.  So whatever life brings, just as long as I have my Devineers out there and my God, I think everything's going to be alright.  So thank you guys for this awesome opportunity and keep voting for me in life.  Just support me in life.  That's all that I ask. 

Above is what Devin had to tell reporters during a Friday conference call. To read what he had to tell Reality TV World, click here.



(Photo credit Fox)


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