"Me and Phil came to peace with the fact that we thought we were going home. When [Idol host Ryan Seacrest] called me and Blake's name, I knew I was going home. You start to put pieces together. I looked around. I seen the band setting up, and the guitar player grabbing a 12 string guitar, and I'm the only person with a 12 string guitar, so you put it together," Richardson explained to reporters during a Thursday conference call. "I just think that if you go out there and you prepare for the worst, and hope for the best, I think you're not so much let down. For me, just like I'm sure everybody knows by now, that Blake is my best friend, I was glad to go and him to be in my place."
The 22-year-old Chesapeake, VA-native who had his vocal style and looks compared to pop star Justin Timberlake on a regular basis said he and Lewis, a 25-year-old from Bothell, WA known for his beat-boxing, began their friendship during Idol 6's Hollywood Week.
"It was just one of those things where you just sort of click with somebody," said Richardson. "Me and him had a lot in common with music taste and music style, personality traits, and loyalty to friendship. So it was just one of those things where we just bonded."
It was the beginning of a friendship that saw the two survive the semifinals, into the Top 10, through the Idol Gives back charity event and up until when Richardson was eliminated on Wednesday night and Lewis became the only male member of Idol 6's Top 4. Richardson said he and Lewis frequently helped each other with song choices and musical arrangements during their Idol journey, but gave most of the credit to his beat-boxing buddy.
"Blake really did a lot of stuff on his own," said Richardson. "He would ask for my opinion on things, and I would always tell him. In song choices, we would always go over song choices, but, really, Blake did his thing and I did my thing. He would always ask for my opinion, but really, it was all on him. He's very talented at what he does. Best of luck to him."
Before Seacrest revealed who would be eliminated on Wednesday night, Richardson and Lewis could be seen talking to one another.
"We were singing a song that we had wrote that we used to just laugh and joke about," said Richardson. "I was just telling him to go ahead and sit down because I knew I was going home and he was staying. He's just unique. I think we're all unique, really. Blake has uniqueness and so does all of the other top three contestants in there."
Richardson was asked if he thought it was unfair the way Idol producers had it come down between him and Lewis on Wednesday night.
"They've got to make a good television show. They're smart producers and they know what will shock people and what will get people interested in the show," he answered. "Whatever way, they did it. If they were to let me go with someone else, it would have been just fine, too."
One of Idol 6's most-talked about moments involved Richardson. Following his rendition of "Mayberry" during Idol 6's live Top 7 performance episode -- only a day after 32 people were killed at a shooting on Virginia Tech's campus -- Idol judge Simon Cowell commented that Richardson sang the country tune "nasally." Richardson retorted that "Nasally is a form of singing" and implied that he meant for his rendition to sound the way it did before adding, "My heart and prayers go out to Virginia Tech. I have a lot of friends over there. Be strong." Unfortunately for Cowell he rolled his eyes at Richardson's retort to singing nasally and some viewers mistook that the facial gesture was towards the Virginia Tech comments instead.
"At the end of the day, I got to say what I really wanted to say that night, and that was about the Virginia Tech thing, and that my heart and prayers went to them," reiterated Richardson during the conference call. "So despite what happened, it was just odd timing."
Richardson said he appreciated most of the feedback from Idol judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, not even mentioning Cowell's name.
"I definitely would have to say, in two different instances, Randy was really supportive of the style of music that I did. He always seemed to dig it. And even on bad nights, he always had something positive on it," said Richardson. "Then even Paula, Paula would just always have something uplifting to say."
Richardson was definitely a fan-favorite with females during his time on Idol, and was even recently spotted "getting cozy" with The Hills star Lauren "LC" Conrad.
"I just got out of a three-and-a-half year relationship back home. That's about it. All of the other rumors that are going on, all of that stuff was just rumors. Those people are just my friends and they're acquaintances," said Richardson. "But other than that, I'm pretty much single, but still respecting the fact that I just got out of a relationship with my girlfriend."
Having lived the dream, Richardson offered some advice to future Idol hopefuls.
"Just be yourself," he said. "Don't settle for what they tell you should do. Make sure you always stay true to yourself, because if you try to change because three people tell you to change, then you're only fooling yourself. Just stay true to yourself and never change. Just always grow."
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