"It would be lying to say that I wasn't shocked," he told reporters during a Friday conference call. "I hadn't been in the bottom three and I thought definitely my last two or three weeks had been my strongest. But we're in this competition and stuff can happen -- and it did."
The 29-year-old from Los Angeles, CA was ousted from Idol's seventh season after "over 31 million" home viewer votes were cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance episode broadcast that saw the Top 8 finalists each singing inspirational songs to keep with the Idol Gives Back spirit.
Johns had been the first finalist to perform and sang Aerosmith's "Dream On" -- a song that seemed slightly out of place amidst all the ballads most of the other finalists chose.
"I pick songs that mean something to me both lyrically and emotionally," said Johns of his overall song selection. "So singing 'Dream On' by Aerosmith with a 20-piece orchestra -- I said it on the show -- that's amazing. Absolutely no regrets at all."
"I don't like it when you do an impersonation of a rock star," Cowell had told Johns. "I prefer it more with the kind of blues, R&B thing in your voice -- which we heard last week. So while I wasn't jumping out of my seat, I thought it was a little bit wannabe-ish."
Johns told reporters that while Cowell's comments are usually on the money, he doesn't feel that was the case Tuesday night.
"Sometimes Simon is off the mark, to be honest," Johns explained. "He wanted me to sing that soul/blues stuff every week. It's like you can't. I'm a rock/soul singer -- I like to do both genres. So I wasn't going to necessarily pander towards what the judges said every week."
Johns said every time he took the Idol stage, he had his potential fan base in mind.
"You have to go out there and say, 'This is the kind of record I'm going to make and this is the sound I do,'" he told reporters. "Some weeks [the judges] loved it, and some weeks they didn't."
While he seemed to be taking his ouster in stride on Friday, Johns said it should serve as a warning to all the viewers who were just as surprised as he was when the voting results were revealed.
"Once again, it shows you no one's safe," he said. "The public can think week-to-week, 'Oh, they did a good performance. They're coming off a good two or three week run. They'll be through. I'm going to vote for someone else who maybe didn't have as good a night.' But you've just got to vote for your favorite."
Check back with Reality TV World on Monday for more from Johns' exit interview, including if his previous professional experience helped him in the competition; why he's "very proud" to be part of the seventh-season Top 12; how this season's finalists were a "melting pot" of talent; and what's on the horizon now that he's through with Idol.
(Photo credit Fox)
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