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'American Idol' hopeful Colton Berry: Simon hypocritical but expected


By Christopher Rocchio, 02/25/2008 

Simon Cowell didn't think Colton Berry could cut it as a recording artist following the American Idol seventh-season semifinalist's rendition of "Suspicious Minds" during last Tuesday night's performance episode broadcast -- a comment the teenager labeled as "hypocritical" since the judge had a hand in putting him in the Top 24.

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"When he said that comment -- he did pick the Top 24 and out of hundreds of thousands of people, he picked us to be the Top 24 singers in America, so obviously we're all going to continue on with music careers. I mean that's who we are, and obviously, he had a hand in putting us there.  So I think he was being a little hypocritical in itself.  But he's Simon and everyone loves him and I love him, for who he is," Berry told reporters during a Friday conference call.

"Simon's job is to be Simon Cowell.  There is no one else in the world like Simon Cowell and that's who he's supposed to be, so I expected him to say something like that."

Home viewers apparently agreed with Cowell, as Berry was one of four semifinalists eliminated from the competition during Thursday night's results show broadcast. 

However Berry was in a tough position with viewers from the start of Idol 7's broadcast run, as he received minimal airtime during the Hollywood Round episodes.

"People saw my performance and the voting system with Idol is kind of a weird system, you vote for your favorite and I didn't get a lot of time... like Hollywood Week or anything and I didn't have a lot of exposure," he explained.  "So I think people just voted for their favorites and they were really unfamiliar with me and they hadn't seen much of me before... I think it was just the fact that not many people knew what they were going to get out of me or whatever and I just ended up at the bottom."

The 18-year-old from Staunton, VA was one of eight teenagers who made Idol 7's Top 24 -- and despite the large number of youth -- he said the competition is still anybody's game.

"This season has been amazing, and as everyone has seen, this Top 24 is way better than anything that has ever come along and the talent is ridiculous," gushed Berry.  "And I think everyone is kind of a level playing field, I seriously could not name one distinct winner.  I think the young ones are very talented, but I think the old ones are just as talented.  I really can't point out anyone that is more talented than anyone else.  As people have seen, by watching the show, the voices are just unmatchable."

Berry produced a light moment during Tuesday night's broadcast when he said that from certain angles, he resembles talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

"You know people have been saying it for years," he explained.  "You know I'm one of her biggest fans; I've always been her fan.  And one day I kind of looked in the mirror and I was like, 'Maybe everyone is right, maybe I do really look like Ellen.'  So I figured I might as well embrace it."

Between the time when he was booted Thursday night and when he spoke to reporters Friday morning, Berry said he had yet to speak with DeGeneres.

"I know that she called [Ryan Seacrest's radio program] and was laughing with Ryan about the comments that I said.  Hopefully, if Ellen is reading this, Ellen, give me a call," said Berry.

While Cowell didn't like the odds of Berry having a career as a recording artist, he did comment Berry, "might have a career in musical theater."

"My dreams since I was young, number one was to be on American Idol, because I grew up with the show, and number two was to be on Broadway," he said.  "So I can check off my first one, and hopefully that first check will lead into the second one, and yes, that's what I'm actually getting ready to pursue.  I'm going to set up as many auditions as I can and really go for that."

Berry is currently directing a production of The Wiz for his hometown theater -- however since he was in Los Angeles for Idol tapings, it made things complicated.

"I am coming back [to my hometown] really, really soon -- ASAP -- because I do have to hop back on that show," he said.  "It opens on March 7 and runs through the sixteenth, so it's coming up soon.  So I'm definitely going to hop right back on and join in with my cast.  I'm not in it.  I'm actually just directing it.  I might have a cameo, perhaps, we'll see."


(Photo credit Fox)


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