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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 9

Jermaine Sellers: I lost because 'American Idol' is for teeny boppers

By Christopher Rocchio, 03/08/2010 

Jermaine Sellers claims his American Idol ouster was partly because his song selection wasn't appealing enough for the reality competition's audience.

"I just wanted to sing songs that had meanings behind them.  All of the songs that I picked, I wanted a meaning behind them.  And with me picking songs that were so much older and mature, I think that had a lot to do with my votes, too, because American Idol is for teeny boppers," he told reporters during a Friday conference call. 

"There's a lot of young people and they want to hear more current stuff... And that's not where my soul is."

The 27-year-old church singer from Joliet, IL was eliminated from American Idol's ninth season during Thursday night's live broadcast, which concluded with the Top 16 being revealed.

Since Sellers said his soul doesn't sit well with teeny boppers, he explained where his musical inspiration comes from.

"I'm more of a let's talk about reality.  Let's talk about what's going on right now," he said. 

"When I sang 'Get Here,' I wasn't just talking about one specific individual.  I was talking about peace.  I was talking about love, respect, joy.  I want all of that to come back to us and even though I try to deliver it the best way that I could, I never got my point across because I let fear conquer me."

Sellers also gave the example of when he sang Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" as another instance of people not paying attention to the point he was trying to make.

"Half of the reason why I did 'What's Going On' right then and there at that time was because I felt like we're not paying attention to what's going on as far as Haiti, as far as Chile," he explained. 

"We're not paying attention to it.  We're spending time focusing on other stuff when we should be focusing on what's actually going on in the world right now."

In addition to what he feels was a lack of appeal to younger viewers, Sellers said his outspoken nature -- including when he threw the band under the bus during Hollywood Week -- also played a role in his ouster.

However he claims it wasn't entirely his fault.

"Sometimes the camera could make you look more arrogant...  Because anybody that knows me knows that I'm like the coolest guy.  I like to make people laugh, the whole me, I honestly do," he said.

"I hate it that I was made out to look like something that I'm not, but it's television.  So I mean, I felt like every night that I went out there that I sang from my heart and the part that really messed me up the most is that I couldn't focus because I was so scared of what was going to be said this week as far as me singing or over singing so much."

Sellers added he was "fine" with the judges' constant criticism that he "did too much."

"I felt like, in general, everything has its own season.  It has its own course and it has to play out the best way it does.  And sometimes you lose just to win again," he explained.

"I took it the best way that I possibly could.  I mean, the thing about it is as an artist you have to stay true to yourself and when you stand true to yourself, it's a certain way that I sang my whole entire life from a child on up and I kept pulling back.  I did.  I pulled back a lot because there was a lot more that I could have done, but with me doing it the way that I did it's like I felt like if I pulled anymore back then I would be basically whispering to them.  I'm a church singer."

Despite his problems with the way he was perceived on the show, Sellers described his American Idol experience as a "blessing."

"That's the best experience about it, just getting on that platform and being able to, not just sing to people, but to minister to them, too," he said.

Somewhat surprisingly, Sellers said he sees himself as being a "contemporary artist" now that his American Idol journey is over.

"My style is very much that what BeBe and Cece Winans were years and years ago, how they sang songs like 'Heaven' and 'I'm Lost Without You,' and it still was marketable to where you would see it on MTV or you would see it on BET," he explained. 

"You would see it on basically, a show that doesn't just show gospel stuff.  It also shows R&B stuff.  It's that crossover market."

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