'American Idol' eliminee MacKenzie Bourg: If the judges didn't give me such harsh criticism, the outcome might've been different
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/05/2016
American Idol eliminated MacKenzie Bourg and determined its farewell season's Top 3 finalists during Thursday night's broadcast on Fox.
After receiving the lowest amount of home viewer votes following the prior week's performance show -- when MacKenzie sang "I Want You To Want Me" for his classic rock pick and "Titanium" by Sia -- America sent MacKenzie, a 23-year-old musician from Lafayette, LA, home.
MacKenzie was ousted from the competition on Thursday following a beautiful tribute to his hometown in which he sang "Hallelujah." He had never landed in the bottom two or three before. American Idol's Top 3 artists are Trent Harmon, La'Porsha Renae and Dalton Rapattoni.
On Friday, MacKenzie talked to reporters during a conference call about his American Idol experience. Below is a portion of what he had to say. To read what he told Reality TV World, click here.
Did Harry Connick Jr. have anything to say to you after the show, especially since you both have Louisiana roots?
MacKenzie Bourg: Yeah, Harry spoke to me after the show. We kind of talked for a bit and I made sure to tell him that we'll have to connect at a Saints game if he's there.
You said at the time of your elimination that you felt like you had already won. Could you explain how you arrived at that conclusion?
MacKenzie Bourg: As cliche as it is -- because I know a lot of people say it -- I actually meant it when I said that. There's so many people, I mean, last night, I just posted a dumb tweet like I always do. I said, "Retweet this if you're in it for life with me," and I think it's close to like 7,000 retweets right now. And I don't know, that's nothing to kind of shake your head to, you know?
Was there a piece of advice from the judges that really changed things for you during this journey?
MacKenzie Bourg: I think it was when Kelly Clarkson was a mentor. She kind of said to me, you know, that it was really awesome I was one of the people who knows what kind of artist I am and what I want to do, and that I just have to do it.
So, taking that [into account], it kind of made me more confident in who I am as an artist, knowing that someone like her and someone like the three judges recognize and appreciate me as an artist and I'm on the right track.
Could you talk about your classic rock song choice of "I Want You To Want Me" during the week when Steven Van Zandtserved as your mentor along with Sia? Was that song your first choice?
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MacKenzie Bourg: No, it wasn't. It was probably my fifth choice. I wasn't necessarily excited [about it]. I originally came in with "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi and I had a cool arrangement for it, kind of like a stripped-down acoustic.
And then I came in again with "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," which, looking back, I probably should've just done that -- even though it wasn't something super special. But then it came up, you know, [Scott Borchetta] suggested "I Want You To Want Me" and the arrangement, I thought, was pretty good.
I actually spoke with the producer who does our iTunes tracks. He has produced the last two Cheap Trick albums, and he said to me when I was recording "Hallelujah" that Cheap Trick loved it and they actually told him that my version was better than their version.
So I do think that maybe if the judges weren't so harsh on the arrangement, things might've been different. But I'm happy with where I'm at, and I couldn't be more thankful.
You said that week in particular was a tough one for you performance-wise. Could you elaborate a little bit on that?
MacKenzie Bourg: Yeah, I don't know. I just felt -- I don't know the right word for it. I felt I was kind of picked on by the judges for that rock pick. They all kind of went at something that I couldn't necessarily completely control, so it kind of bummed me out, knowing that it wasn't really my voice that had anything wrong, it was just kind of, like, the arrangement with the band and all that stuff.
If you had your choice of a dream artist to perform with in the finale, who would it be and why?
MacKenzie Bourg: Let me think. I would probably say, I mean, just thinking of it vocally, Taylor Swift would probably sound really good singing with me. I know that she did a song with Ed Sheeran that was really awesome. That would definitely be a cool song that I think I could do with her.
Why did you pick the song "Hallelujah" for your hometown tribute?
MacKenzie Bourg: "Hallelujah" is one of the first songs I ever learned, and when I first started playing in my first shows, I played it just because I only knew four or five songs.
Once I kind of got my feet under me and started playing more shows, I would kind of break it out and play it at shows. Even though it wasn't the craziest thing in the world, it was kind of a reminder to me of how far I've come. And I kind of had a hunch that I was going to go home last night.
I had a really [strong] gut feeling actually, and I just wanted to go out with something that left a good taste in people's mouths about me and encapsulated -- if that's the right word -- everything that I'm about. I think I did that and left a good mark on people.
What inspires you when you're channeling your emotion in the song "Hallelujah?"
MacKenzie Bourg: To me, the song was more than just the lyrics. It was, I don't know, it's kind of like a reminder of how far I've come. Like, I sang it so passionately just because I know that -- I remember five or six years ago when I first learned that song how bad I was at the song. I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be on the biggest stage in the world performing that.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for more from MacKenzie Bourg's post-American Idol interview.