Dalton, a 19-year-old vocal coach from Dallas TX, received the lowest amount of home viewer votes during the week when he performed a tribute to his hometown, a song selected for him by mentor Scott Borchetta, and a song chosen for him by judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.
Dalton was eliminated after performing what would've been his coronation song "Strike a Match." His ouster determined Trent Harmon and La'Porsha Renae as the reality singing competition's Top 2 finalists.
During a recent conference call with reporters, Dalton talked about his Idol experience and what's next for him. Below is what he had to say.
What's the one piece of advice you'll take with you from the judges and use going forward?
Dalton Rapattoni: One of the biggest things that the judges stressed to me is to only do music that I connect with and that I relate to. And I feel like that's what carried me to the Top 3, was my philosophy. So, that's probably what I'm going to take away from this experience the most... And just to always be myself.
What are your immediate plans?
Dalton Rapattoni: I am fortunate enough to have a big team behind me and be able to do this independently if need be. I'm going into the studio on Sunday to write and record a new record! So that will be fun.
Will you be staying in North Texas or moving out of the Dallas area?
Dalton Rapattoni: I work wherever people need me to work, but North Texas is my home. I'm definitely going to keep that as my anchor point, because honestly, I can't relax anywhere else. I mean, I grew up there. It's my home and I get stressed out everywhere else. So, I always have to come back to North Texas to get myself recharged.
Will you continue working at the School of Rock?
Dalton Rapattoni: Oh definitely. I'm always involved with the School of Rock in some capacity. I think it's an incredibly important program because there aren't as many music programs and schools as there used to be. The funding has been cut.
That's why School of Rock exists. It's for the kids who don't want to play soccer or play football, because everyone needs that something outside of school and I think it's a really, really important cause. I'm definitely always going to be involved in it.
During the Top 3 performance show, the judges selected "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" for you and they seemed surprised by how you sang it. Were you not mentored on that song?
Dalton Rapattoni: Well, the judges didn't mentor anybody that week. They just picked their songs and gave them to us. For me, I thought -- it's actually funny you should ask about "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."
I was practicing it in that key because we had three songs that week and I didn't want to blow out my voice. But I intended on raising it for the show. It was my bad. I dropped the ball; I forgot to tell the band that. It was a stupid mistake, but you know, everybody makes them.
What inspires you to write songs?
Dalton Rapattoni: When I write songs, I make sure I believe them 100%. I don't write anything that I don't feel deeply. So, anything coming out in the future -- which will happen soon -- it's going to be the exact same philosophy as I had on the show. It's going to be 100% me just trying to talk to people.
Tell me a little bit about your IM5 days when you were in a band. You were dancing and singing pop music. How did that affect your journey on American Idol?
Dalton Rapattoni: Here's the deal with IM5 as pertaining to Idol. I don't think I would've been able to do this without having been in IM5. Being in IM5 taught me a lot about how to interact with people in the industry and it also taught me a lot about how to perform and all of that stuff. I am very appreciative of the lessons that both Idol and IM5 have taught me.
You got to sing what would've been your coronation song before you were eliminated. What songs were going to be Simon Fuller's pick for you and the song you intended to repeat?
Dalton Rapattoni: I was planning on singing "Say Something" by A Great Big World and I was planning on singing as my repeat song a full version of "Hopelessly Devoted."
What can you reveal about the album you're going to start? Will it be an independent release? Are you on a label? Do you have a producer lined up?
Dalton Rapattoni: Right now, we don't have word back from [19 Entertainment]'s people whether they're going to pick up my option or not. But I must go on, so we're considering as of now to be an independent release. But luckily, I have a big team backing me and we're going to be able to do that to the best of our ability.
Dalton Rapattoni: Yeah, but I've obviously picked up a few members along the way. We've grown bigger through it and we've grown stronger through everything. We're definitely going to be able to produce some really good music.
How do you channel your emotions through your performances?
Dalton Rapattoni: I feel like if I don't have a song with lyrics I connect to, then that doesn't happen. For me, I really have to get in my own head and think about what the song is trying to say and do my best to represent that with my performance and my vocal. But, you know, I always try to do songs I really strongly connect with.