'American Idol' eliminee Dexter Roberts: Sometimes it felt like Harry Connick Jr. was talking sign language
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/18/2014
American Idol eliminated Dexter Roberts, a 22-year-old from Fayette, AL, and determined its Top 6 thirteenth-season finalists during Thursday night's live results show on Fox.
Dexter became the seventh finalist sent home from American Idol's thirteenth season after he received the fewest home viewer votes cast following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 7 finalists performing songs they had selected for one another in a brand new theme dubbed "Competitors' Pick." The country artist sang "Muckalee Creek Water" by Luke Bryan.
Dexter tried his best to get through his final performance of "Lucky Man" by Montgomery Gentry after his elimination. Jessica Meuse had landed in the bottom two alongside him.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Dexter talked about his American Idol experience. Below is a portion of his interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for more.
The judges kept saying you performed popular country anthems the crowd probably loved but they wanted you to make the songs your own. However, you rarely landed in the bottom three before, so the anthems seemed to be working for you. Why do you think your song choice didn't work for you this week?
Dexter Roberts: I just don't know. It's really, you know, it's hard to say. Because I'm not a producer; I can't -- I wish I knew what or why I ended up leaving, but I don't know. I wish -- it'd sum up a lot of questions I was asking about it. I just had a great time on the show and I'm going to have a great time being on tour. But I don't know, it's just a really hard question to ask, and it's a hard question to answer.
Did you really take the judges' criticism to heart and try to make the country songs more your own or was that something you just weren't really interested in doing?
Dexter Roberts: No, I wanted to try and make each song more my own, but sometimes the band, they didn't want to -- they didn't think it would sound great, and I was like, "Well, you know, I'm trying, man! I'm trying." They'd be like, "Let's just play the record." So I tried as much as I could, but hopefully when I get on tour, I can have a little bit more say-so in it.
Did you ever think the judges were a little too harsh on you then at times?
Dexter Roberts: No, no. I wanted the judges to be harsh on me more, because that -- I think that if you could have criticism, that's going to help you be a better artist. And if I'm just sitting up there -- I've said a bunch of times before, they started out just saying good things, and then they hit the criticism.
And man, I loved it! I seen everybody else get down and stuff. I said, "It drives me more. It's just putting fuel under my fire. It makes me want to go out there and do it better each week."
What's the piece of advice you received from anyone that you'll take with you?
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Dexter Roberts: Just to be myself.
Was it difficult to make the transition in your life from Alabama to California?
Dexter Roberts: Yeah, it was really different, because I'm a country boy and this is city life. But, you know, I tried to make of it the best that I could.
What advice from the judges impacted you the most?
Dexter Roberts: Probably just to go out there and have fun and really, like, I remember they told me to work on my diction, being able to pronounce words right. It's just that Southern twang I've got, but I don't know. That's about it, man.
You've been in the bottom two or bottom three only once before. So after you ended up there this week against Jessica, did you have a feeling that you'd be going home at all?
Dexter Roberts: Man, it's really crazy because nobody really knows if you're going home because it's such a great competition between us. Because we're like family and you just don't know because everybody is so good. You just don't know who's going to go home, and you know, we all had knots in our belly.
Next week's theme is "A little bit country and a little bit Rock N' Roll." Obviously you're a country singer. Could you tell me what you were planning on singing next week?
Dexter Roberts: Yeah, I was going to sing "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith, and for the country thing, I was either going to do a Brantley Gilbert song or I was going to do another Luke Bryan song.
How did your girlfriend, whom you met while auditioning, support you throughout your journey on the show?
Dexter Roberts: Oh man, she's been straight nothing but great support. She's been behind me the whole way -- her and her family and my family and America. It's just been a great experience.
What advice do you have for couples who are pursuing similar goals such as music?
Dexter Roberts: Just go in and just work at it. You're going to have to work at any relationship to make it work, but stand by each other and just keep pushing each other forward to make each other stronger. And just have fun and just enjoy life.
How do you feel about how far you made it in the competition? Did you exceed your own expectations going into auditions?
Dexter Roberts: Yes, I've had a great time and it was just a blast to be able to be there on American Idol. Yeah, I did my best, I thought. I just went out there and tried to kill it each week and I had a really great time. It was just amazing.
Did you feel like the judges' feedback was ever confusing? Because sometimes they want the contestants to change the melody and other times they want you to just sing it straight. Did you have a hard time trying to figure out what they wanted you to do?
Dexter Roberts: Sometimes, you know, I'm sitting back there and I'm like, "Okay, I'm trying to figure out what they want," and I'm asking everybody backstage, like, "What in this world are they talking about?," sometimes.
But each one of us contestants, you know, (laughs) we all had that same -- because [Harry Connick Jr.] would say something way out of the way. And we're just like, "What in the world?! You're talking sign language."
What did you miss most about home?
Dexter Roberts: Just my family and friends and just the vibe of Alabama. I love home. I wouldn't trade it. I guess just the great hunt, because you can't go hunting out here in Los Angeles. I'm a big hunter. So that's probably the most, you know, just all that together.
Above is a portion of Dexter's Friday conference call with reporters. Check back with Reality TV World soon for more from his interview.