Drew Ryniewicz: 'X Factor' judges' rivalry could have been my demise
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/02/2011
Drew Ryniewicz and fellow contestant "Astro" Brian Bradley were eliminated from The X Factor, determining the new Fox reality competition's Top 5 acts, during the show's fifth live results show Thursday night.
Drew was ousted from the competition after The X Factor host Steve Jones revealed she was one of the bottom-three acts based on home viewer votes cast immediately following Wednesday night's Top 7 performance show and the judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and L.A. Reid decided to eliminate the singer via a 3-1 vote in which they had to determine whether Drew or fellow contestant Marcus Canty, the other bottom three vote-getter, should be axed from the show.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Drew talked to Reality TV World about her The X Factor experience -- including whether she felt a rivalry amongst the judges unfairly contributed to her ouster because Simon was the only judge who still had all three of his team members remaining in the competition.
Reality TV World: There is clearly a rivalry amongst the judges and how they most likely want someone on their own team to win the competition. Did you think their rivalry played any role in your elimination in that maybe the other judges felt justified in sending you home? Because at that point, Simon was the only judge who still had all three of his team members?
Drew Ryniewicz: Honestly, that could be a possibility just because Simon, week after week, wanted to go against [L.A. Reid] and wanted to go against [Nicole Scherzinger] and [Paula Abdul] and he -- I learned to accept that because I like doing slow songs. Don't get me wrong, I loved all of the songs that I did.
It's just that if I'm not going to show being versatile, people aren't going to want to vote for me because they want to see everything that I am capable of. I felt like the judges had enough of maybe seeing youthful songs and they didn't think it was worth a shot with Simon, because I know that -- Simon apologized and they knew that it wasn't me.
They told me, they said, "I know that that last performance definitely wasn't your choice," and I think they just really wanted Simon to realize that he can't just let somebody do one thing, because I have so much more that I can show -- so much more -- and Simon knows that.
Reality TV World: If the judges had voted in a two-two tie deadlock, do you think you still would have been eliminated for having the least amount of votes? Have you heard anything about the voting results and whether Marcus or yourself was the low vote-getter?
Drew Ryniewicz: You know, I don't know exactly what America was thinking, but I know that I have the greatest fanbase and they are just the sweetest thing. I believe that they voted, and I believe that they voted enough to make -- to get me past.
But it wasn't about what America thought at that point. It was about the judges and I still am going to always believe that my fans want to be in the competition and make sure that I was going to stay.
Also in the call, Drew told reporters whether she agreed with Simon that her elimination was all his fault due to poor song choice, how she gathered her tears and got up the strength to sing her survival song well, and why she didn't think she would be chosen by the judges to stay in the competition over Marcus.
After you sang for your survival during last night's results show, The X Factor host Steve Jones whispered something into your ear. What did he say?
Drew Ryniewicz: Yeah, you know, Steve was just telling me how this was astonishing and he can't believe what the results came out to be.
Simon, as your mentor, blamed your elimination on his song choice. Do you agree with that?
Drew Ryniewicz: I don't believe that it's all Simon's fault. You know, he did want me to do a slow song and he very much enforced me to use the chair, but overall, I still have the overall decision and I didn't fight for exactly what I should have. So, it's not quite all his fault. I could have told him, "No."
You said after you were eliminated that you were on the show and singing for God. Will you pursue a career in Christian music or remain on the Pop route?
Drew Ryniewicz: I definitely, definitely want to be part of secular music -- part of all the different kinds of music. Overall, what I said at the end, that's why I'm here and that's what I'm believing, but that doesn't quite make my music in that genre.
How did Simon push you in new ways as your mentor?
Drew Ryniewicz: You know, I don't feel that Simon pushed me to do anything. I feel like we both kind of -- we thought that slow music could happen over and over. Finally, when I didn't agree anymore, it was too late. I got eliminated. But overall, I stayed pretty true to myself as an artist. I would like to do something upbeat in the future.
Following your performance of Skyscraper a couple weeks ago, how important was it for you to voice your opinion to L.A. Reid when he told you that you weren't singing songs appropriate for your age and audience?
Drew Ryniewicz: It was very important for me to get him to understand, because I wanted America to also hear the exact reason that I do the things that I do. And so, L.A. knows exactly what I think.
How difficult was it for you to sing your survival song last night considering your state of mind? Because you were clearly very emotional over your bottom-two finish following Astro elimination.
Drew Ryniewicz: It actually was very difficult just because I wasn't really feeling that performance quite. I really wanted to move around and do different things, so it was actually a very difficult performance for me. I don't regret anything and I would never turn back on anything, because there's always a plan and obviously winning The X Factor isn't the exact plan for me.
Has your fame and what you've accomplished so far really sunk in yet?
Drew Ryniewicz: This is unbelievable. Getting to be on The X Factor was just an unbelievable journey and I couldn't have asked for a better journey to take to go into my singing career, because it was so surreal. I got to work with Simon Cowell and we were like buddy buddy. So, it's something that is worth taking, but it feels like a dream now -- now that I'm looking back at it -- it feels like totally a dream.
When you were in the bottom two with Marcus and had to "sing for your survival," were you convinced you'd be advancing in the competition instead of him since he had been in the bottom two the week before?
Drew Ryniewicz: You know, I actually didn't think that. I knew that I wasn't going through. I could see it. I could see it in the judges' faces and the way they were looking at me. I knew that my "save me" song wasn't my best performance and I knew that my performance the night before wasn't my greatest performance.
I haven't been showing being versatile, so I didn't really expect the judges to want to save me after week after week they told me to do something different and Simon insisted on me doing the same thing again and again. It was okay for awhile, but I could see it in the judges that they didn't -- I knew they weren't going to want to save me. Especially after my "save me" song, it just wasn't the greatest.
The judges had suggested you should do uptempo songs, but it seemed like you had a set style. You just mentioned you would like to do uptempo songs, but how much of a departure are you willing to take from the norm in order to change things up? Paula mentioned you should push yourself towards a style like Kelly Clarkson or Avril Lavigne's.
Drew Ryniewicz: Well honestly, I was planning on doing an upbeat song this week and I've been trying to get my songs to be upbeat. Simon wanted them to be slow and I trusted him in that. He was my mentor, but I wanted to do something upbeat for awhile.
But I also wanted to do my slow songs because I am good at that. I am good at doing slow songs, but I gotta change it up and I didn't get a chance to do that. So, you bet my album is going to have a variety of different tempo songs -- upbeat, slow, emotional, non-emotional.
During last night's episode, Nicole said that your voice could use some maturing. What's your response to that?
Drew Ryniewicz: You know what? I actually -- I know, personally, that my voice is very mature and I know exactly who I want to be as an artist. Last week, I had no choice in my song. Simon apologized for that, and I'm so thankful that he did just because I really had another plan and I had the plan to show myself being a teenager.
That didn't quite get to work out. So I just don't think Nicole got to see me and I don't think America got to see what I'm truly capable of, and I'm definitely, definitely going to be going into my album by showing exactly what I'm capable of, because I don't want to let anybody down.
What was your proudest moment on the show?
Drew Ryniewicz: My proudest moment on the show was, honestly, I think my proudest moment was when I did "Just a Dream" by Nelly. I felt so comfortable with that song, because it wasn't super fast, but it wasn't super slow. I got to move around and I got to be Drew.
That was the type of music that I wanted to do in the first place. So, that was the most exciting week for me and the most comfortable week for me, and I was proud of that performance. I felt like a lot went into it and I gave a lot to it.
What were the most surprising things you learned about yourself from being a part of the show?
Drew Ryniewicz: One of the most surprising things I learned about myself would probably be that -- I've actually learned -- I've learned so much. I gotta think about that for a minute. I feel like I've learned that I can do more, that I can do more.
I didn't quite get to show all of that on the show, but after last night and after everything I've been through in this competition, it started to build up to really help me realize that if I don't believe in myself, people aren't going to believe in me. And so, I have to believe that I can do things like an upbeat song and that I can do things like dancing, and then I could be able to do other types of stuff.
What is the next step for you?
Drew Ryniewicz: I'm excited. I'm really excited to see what I can go into as an artist, because I cannot wait to get an album and start writing with people, because I haven't gotten a lot of chances to write. I'm just not that great at it, but I am more than excited to have my first album. That is going to be my first child and I can't wait!