Curtis Finch Jr.: I was already picturing the 'American Idol' crown on my head
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/19/2013
Curtis Finch Jr. was ousted from American Idol during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox, determining the twelfth season's Top 9 finalists.
Curtis, a 24-year-old from St. Louis, MO, became the first 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 10 finalists performing songs from prior American Idol winners.
Curtis' 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 Curtis' case, the vote was not although Nicki seemingly fought for him to stay.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Curtis talked to Reality TV World about his American Idol experience. Click here to read what he had to say. Below are some additional highlights from the rest of his call.
So what kind of album do you see yourself making?
Curtis Finch Jr.: I see myself being a very inspirational type singer just talking about love, just talking about how you can overcome and how you can make it. And so I don't really know what it entails at this moment, but I just know that I really live to inspire everybody across America.
I'm curious, if you got to sing with one singer, who would it be, who would you choose?
Curtis Finch Jr.: It would definitely be Marvin Gaye, because I think he's an incredible singer if I had the chance to do that.
I was just wondering, did you actually regret your song choice or are you happy with the decision you made to sing "I Believe?"
Curtis Finch Jr.: Yes, I don't regret anything -- any decision I made on the show, because American Idol has been so influential in my life, and so every choice I made, I don't just make these decisions on a whim. I always say to myself, "If I can commit myself totally to the song and the lyrics, then I'm going to commit to it, so I don't regret a thing."
What were your plans for next week?
Curtis Finch Jr.: Really the same as every week, to really give it my all and do the best that I could, but America didn't see it that way, and so here I am.
Nicki was such a big supporter for you, but she wasn't there for your performance. Do you think that may have affected your votes that she couldn't critique you and reach out to her barbs [fans] to vote for you?
Curtis Finch Jr.: Absolutely not, because Nicki Minaj is not the only judge on the panel, and so at the end of the day, if I get done singing and no judges have no responses, it's still left up to America to use the phone or use the American Idol app or go online and vote for me.
And so I think things were really inevitable, and so, you really can't change yesterday. You could really just focus on tomorrow and make sure that everything is in line for my future as it pertains to my career.
Is there any embarrassment of being the first one to be sent home?
Curtis Finch Jr.: Absolutely not, I really feel like if I was going to get eliminated, there's no embarrassment in getting cut tenth or fifth. It really just is what it is. I mean, I get a chance to tour with these guys. I get a chance to travel the world and grow as an artist with these guys and so no embarrassment, all gratefulness.
When you were singing for The Judges' Save, did you really think there was much chance that you'd get the save considering they only get one shot and this was the first week?
Curtis Finch Jr.: You never know withAmerican Idol, some things work in your favor and some things don't, and so they didn't choose to use the save on me. But I'm sure whoever they choose to use it on, since everybody left is extremely talented, it'll be well deserved.
How do you feel you've grown as an artist since first auditioning for the show?
Curtis Finch Jr.: I feel like I've grown so much because really, you have to sing for this show -- be it for live recordings or dress rehearsals for the show -- daily, you know, in and out. And so, I've had to be vocally prepared for that. I had to rest up at night as much as I can and I had to really prepare. And so I feel like there's so many things I know now that I didn't know at first, so I feel like I've overcome [a lot].
How did you feel about Nicki's reaction when she said she'd leave the show if you went home?
Curtis Finch Jr.: It made me feel good, because really, I sing from my heart and I really felt like I've touched Nicki's heart in such a way that she didn't want to see me leave.
So I was wondering what was going through your mind when you found out that the results would be ranked? Did it make it more nerve wracking for everyone?
Curtis Finch Jr.: Oh, not at all. I always really expect the worse, so I won't be surprised, because you know, when the cameras are on you, you really can't go back and redo any facial expressions or anything that you may want to say or do. So I was prepared either way to make it through or to have to go home, and so here we are.
There's a buzz online from your fans saying that they're going to stop watching American Idol now. What do you want to say to them to make sure they keep tuning in?
Curtis Finch Jr.: I really want everybody that has been supporting me to keep supporting my friends, because I'm talented, I know that, but at the same time, there are nine talents that are still left that are incredibly talented. I want them to call and vote for them as well, because these guys deserve to be -- every single one of them -- the next American Idol.
How do you feel about Nicki missing your performance on Wednesday night? Do you think that maybe her presence there would have maybe helped you along?
Curtis Finch Jr.: Absolutely not. I mean if Nicki wasn't there or if she was there, I really feel like things happen for a reason. And so if she was there, if she was supposed to be here, she would have been there.
Were you bummed that she missed your performance though, because she was a big supporter of yours?
Curtis Finch Jr.: When I got offstage, she was the first person, the first face I saw. And so she gave me a high-five and told me I did a good job, and so that was very warming for me, because I always look for the great support from all four judges. It was good to see her face.
For next week, do you think you would have done like a more upbeat song or do you know what you had in store for next week had you still been in the competition?
Curtis Finch Jr.: Absolutely. You know, you never know. It's always about what I embody as an artist that I really want to give to the crowd, and so if it's an upbeat song, then fine. If it's a slow mid-tempo song, then I mean, it really just depends on what the theme would be and what it is that I really feel like I can deliver the best to the audience.
There's so many possibilities for you and what you can do with your career now. Do you want to go in a gospel direction? Do you want to go Christian direction, an R&B direction? What's your plan, Curtis?
Curtis Finch Jr.: I want to go in a love direction, because I really feel like God is love. And so as long as I'm not singing anything provocative or anything that can offend anyone across the world, then I would be doing things that make people feel better about their day. What I love about music is that people just want to feel things a certain way, and you really don't have to be offensive to do so.
What was it about Idol specifically that appealed to you rather than another reality singing competition? Did you audition for anything else?
Curtis Finch Jr.: No, absolutely not. American Idol is the show of all shows. It searches around the world for talent all across the world, and so people really get a chance to be discovered.
WithoutAmerican Idol, there would not be The Sing-Off or The Voice or these other shows that people -- in my opinion, you know, there always has to be an example of something. There always has to be a soundboard for somebody to learn something off of and so American Idol is that. It's the original. It's the best, the number one show. I love it.
What was the first thing running through your head the first time you sang in front of the huge audience?
Curtis Finch Jr.: I really want to make them smile, because I really feel like I just exude joy. And so I really want everybody that hears me sing to feel happy, because there are so many things going on in the world to frown about. To hear a gift -- nothing that I've given myself, but something I feel like God has given me -- be used in such a way to put a smile on people's faces is the best feeling in the world.
I know that you and Mariah have a special connection and she has tweeted you some very nice things since you left the show.
So I just want to know when you came off stage after the show, after your elimination, did Mariah talk to you? Did she give you some support or any advice?
Curtis Finch Jr.: Absolutely, she always gives me great feedback, and so she really didn't say anything different than she had been saying since I've been on the show -- you know, to keep my head up, remain consistent and remain 100% percent authentic.
Curtis Finch Jr.: Either one. I really wish they could bring every contestant that sang for Idol this season back because this season was filled with extremely amazing talent, and so it doesn't matter to me. They're both awesome. I hope they both can come back, actually.
In your opinion, how were the judges this year? Do you think they were critical enough to you or do you wish they had been a little more so in order to help you out more?
Curtis Finch Jr.: The judges always talk with so much passion, and so however they feel about a contestant, be it in good light or a bad light, they're going to say it.
There's this thing that exists called favor, and I really feel like that I have been favored in this competition. It's nothing that I did on my own. I really feel like it's God, and so the fact that I brought consistency every time I sang and I gave it my all, I think the judges recognized that.
To put your Idol journey in some sort of perspective, what were you doing this time last year around Easter?
Within reference to Mariah, she really seemed to have a very strong connection with you. Can you elaborate on that, I mean, what do you think that was all about?
Curtis Finch Jr.: What you see on television is basically what you get. I mean she's been supportive of me, both privately and publicly. She said I made her cry and that there were moments that I sang that she really needed that in her life, and so she really didn't say anything in private that she hadn't already said publicly.
What do you have in store for the future, like what are your thoughts? I know maybe you're not thinking that far ahead, but we'd love to hear what you're thinking about in terms of next steps.
Curtis Finch Jr.: Oh, I'm always thinking that far ahead. I'm always looking to see what my next step will be. Well, first of all, the summer tour is coming up with the other Idols and so I'm very elated about that because I get to grow as an artist with them. I get to cry; I get to laugh. I get to act goofy.
I get to hang out with the other nine contestants, and so I'm having a blast and so I'm definitely looking forward to that. I would love to sit down in a studio and work with the Alicia Keys, R. Kelly, maybe go on Glee one time, and do some acting, maybe Broadway. Really, the sky is the limit. There are no limits when it comes to what I feel, like [what] I've been gifted to do and so we shall see. Tune in, guys.
I didn't know that God would give me another one once I got here, and so, we've just become so close and so kind-hearted towards each other. Because not only do they possess such huge gifts as it pertains to vocal ability, but they are very charismatic and very loving and adorable people. I love being around them.
The judges kept saying how your performance wasn't as strong as it was in the previous weeks. Do you agree with that or do you feel like you definitely did give your 100% percent last night?
Curtis Finch Jr.: I always give 100% percent. Now how that's perceived by the judges, that's left up to their interpretation. I wouldn't be on American Idol if I wasn't going to give it my all anyway.
Who were your biggest influences growing up as a child?
Curtis Finch Jr.: Oh, definitely my parents, and I'm a huge family guy. And so they really trained me up really to be an awesome young man and I still look up to them to this day.
Out of the whole time on American Idol, what was your one favorite moment if you can pick one?
Curtis Finch Jr.: Oh my goodness, probably the time I got a chance to sing "I Believe I Can Fly" because I just remember the energy from the audience was amazing, and to open my eyes and to see the judges standing on their feet, it felt like I was standing in the room full of believers, knowing that they can do anything once they set their minds to it.
During the competition, what do you think the best piece of advice was that you got from any of the judges or Jimmy Iovine that you really took to heart and used?
Curtis Finch Jr.: After "Superstar," Randy asked me how old I was and I said 25 and he was like, "That's good." He was like, "I think you can sing anything and so I want to make sure that you understand that you should keep it young." And so that's why I tried to kind of change up my dressing style, you know, what you would see, a nice jacket, but some jeans -- just to be relevant to America.
I remember in your package you said you came to American Idol because you wanted to do well. Did you have the crown in your sights? Did you really feel like you were going for the win while you were on the show?
Curtis Finch Jr.: I've always felt that I had to sing looking towards the end. Even during my Chicago audition, I was thinking about the finale, because that's how hard you have to work in order to be successful. I can't ever just go through the motions really if I want to do my best, and so my mindset was definitely thinking about the confetti coming down and the crown being on my head.
Any final words?
Curtis Finch Jr.: I really want to thank everybody, one for your time and for your support, and thank you for believing in me so much so that you all put me in the Top 10. And remember you guys can always follow me on Twitter, @CurtisAI12, and remember to pick up my last performance, "I Believe" on iTunes. It turned out very great, and so I will love all your support. Thank you and God bless you all.
To read what Curtis had to tell Reality TV World specifically during the Friday conference call with reporters, click here.