The 28-year-old from Milwaukee, WI became the eleventh finalist eliminated from Idol's eighth season based on the more than 88 million home viewer votes cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance episode.
Kris Allen was the first Top 3 finalist to learn he was advancing during the results show, at which point Gokey said he "knew" he was going to be booted instead of Adam Lambert.
"I was very confident in the fact that it was it for me. Actually, the whole day, I kind of thought it was it for me. Did I want it to be it for me? No.... I wanted to go for the gold, just like they did. And it didn't work out that way," explained Gokey to reporters.
"Looking back, would I have done things different? Absolutely. But the one thing I can say is I'm proud of my accomplishments, my accomplishment from where I came from ten months ago from losing my wife to where I am today. You know, it wasn't just a show I was on. I was battling different things... Not only in this competition did I keep my head up and did I put my, at the time, what I thought was my very best out there, but I also had to deal with that whole end of the spectrum of losing my wife. And I saw a strength in me that I didn't know I had."
In addition, Gokey said his Idol journey taught him a lot about himself.
"I learned a lot about how pressure has an effect on a person," he said. "I think, for me, this whole experience I learned to overcome things in my life. You know, overcome insecurities, overcome doubt because sometimes there were times I just didn't want to go out on that stage because I just felt maybe unprepared or I felt like, 'Man, is anyone going to like what I'm doing,' and I over-thought the process."
Gokey said he felt the pressure from the onset of the competition, when he was quickly labeled by many -- including judge Simon Cowell -- to be one of the eighth-season's frontrunners.
"I felt like I had so much on me in the beginning of the show that I had to outdo myself every week," he explained. "Just internally, I was like, 'Man, I'm still growing as a musician, yet people expect this to come out of me,' and I felt like at times I was just wasn't there yet."
Gokey added fans "tend to get disappointed" when contestants don't live up to the expectations set for them.
"I'm sure, maybe at times people got disappointed like, 'Dude, I thought you were better than that.' I'm like, 'No; hold up, man,'" said Gokey.
"I try. I gave it a really good try. The thing is that I know that there's a lot of creativity, and I can't wait to express it in the way that I want to express it. And I know that there's a bright future ahead of me, and that's how I'm going to look at it."
Despite being booted, Gokey said he received some very kind words from Cowell -- who came across as shocked when Gokey was revealed to be eliminated.
"I think he was basically saying it was a shock that [I] didn't make into the finale," recalled Gokey. "He's like, 'These things happen. You're one heck of a singer, one of a kind. It's sad to not see you in there.' I believe that's what he said... He said some very nice things."
Since he spent more time with them than any other finalist, Gokey offered some insight on Allen and Lambert as the finale draws closer.
"Kris, you know, obviously he's really artistic, and Adam has a way on the show of capturing the audience," he said.
"One thing I admire about Kris is that he's very mellow, and that's always one character trait I've always wanted. I'm an intense personality... Adam, he's just an all around great guy. I really can't fault him on anything. Adam is who he is onstage and who he is offstage. He's very creative. He lives creative. He dresses creatively. He talks from that perspective."
Regardless of whether fans support Lambert or Allen, Gokey encouraged them to pick up the phone.
"People need to vote," he said. "Don't have your assumptions. If you want some person to win, you've got to vote. I'm telling you. This competition is not over yet. This is going to be a very tight. I have a feeling it's going to be a very tight race this next week."
As for his own immediate future, Gokey has Idol's annual summer tour on the horizon, which he sees as a great opportunity to meet his fans.
"I envision it honestly as a point to just talk to my fans and kind of just show a side of me that they weren't able to see on the TV because the coolest thing now is that I can take my guard down," he explained. "I don't have to have a guard up anymore. People can't accuse me for wanting to get votes anymore for doing this or that. So now I can just talk openly and freely to the people who I sing in front of. I'm excited for that. It means a lot to me."
In addition, Gokey said he also has his sights set on using his music to "revolutionize a culture to change people's hearts."
"That's why it's so important for me that my dream is to mix my music with my foundation, Sophia's Heart Foundation. That is everything to me," he said. "For my music career, I don't want it to be necessarily all about me. I want it to be about people."
Gokey added he hopes to entertain people and make them feel good about themselves, which were both reasons why he initially decided to audition for Idol.
"I didn't get in this thing for the money. I didn't get into it so I can live this glamorous lifestyle. Does that come with this kind of career? It will. Things will come," he said.
"But my goal, I feel like my goal is so different, and maybe it didn't line up with the goals of what they see as a pop star. But the thing is, I'm okay with that because it's like, I want to have a moment in my music... I feel like my vision is a little different, so it's okay with me."
However if the music doesn't work out, Gokey apparently has his sights set on something else.
"I would love to be an eyeglasses model. I'm serious. Like, that would be so cool. I haven't been offered anything yet because I'm just like leaving the American Idol bubble right now," he said.
"I hope I made glasses cool for kids, man... Sometimes glasses can have the reputation for being nerdy, but I want to do my own glasses design. Hopefully somehow tie it into the foundation, and maybe some of the proceeds from the glasses can help whatever, whatever we decide to do with the foundation."
(Photo credit Fox)
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