Matt Giraud claims his goal was never to win American Idol.

"I never came in wanting to be the 'American Idol,' you know my dream was to play that piano on that stage, my dream was to sing jazz on that stage, my dream was to meet the mentors, that was like dreams come true to me," Giraud told reporters during a Thursday conference call.

"There are definitely a lot of perks and I'd like it and I was fighting for it, but that wasn't the goal, I'm not kicking myself because I'm not winning.  I think that obviously we've seen past idols who go home in fourth and fifth place do even better than the idol, so all hope is not lost."

Good thing winning was never Giraud's goal, as the 23-year-old from Michigan became the ninth finalist eliminated from Idol's eighth season based on the more than 47 million home viewer votes that were cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance episode that featured the Top 5 finalists singing Rat Pack standards.

"I didn't know for sure, but I was ready for it and I was preparing what I was going to say and trying to prepare myself mentally for such a hard thing to deal with," Giraud told reporters about his ouster.

"You know at this point it is more popularity than talent, of course, I mean we all know that.  And everyone in the Top 5 was talented though, someone has to go home every week, it's just whoever can rub America the right way, I guess."

Giraud sang "My Funny Valentine" during Tuesday night's performance episode and judge Simon Cowell called his version of the Rat Pack standard "absolutely brilliant."

"Going out with Simon calling you brilliant and comparing you to Nat King Cole that's pretty much the best way I could go.  I mean it's better than going out like, 'That's the worse you've ever done, have a good day,'" said Giraud.

"I was at complete peace with myself, because I went out doing what I love to do, Jazz Week in the matter of dreams.  That's what I wanted to do, play piano, I wanted play jazz and meet my idols and I actually accomplished everything I had to do.  So I knew I did a good job and I appreciated Simon's comments and I'm moving on."

Wednesday night marked the second time Giraud had finished as the low vote-getter during Idol's eighth-season finals.  He was initially set to be booted by home viewer votes two weeks ago but was spared elimination via the use of the show's new "The Judges' Save" twist.

"I think the most memorable moment was probably the moment when I got saved, feeling all that love in the room and feeling so much respect from the other contestants and everything, it really meant a lot to me and I'll never forget that moment forever in my life," Giraud explained to reporters.

"It's a great thing.  I don't think it was a waste of time at all, because it shows people that the judges can see something in someone.  They didn't pick me because of my looks, they picked me because they saw something in my talent and that's a good thing."
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Giraud added that he is excited to see his name "on a trivia card" someday since he was the first American Idol finalist to ever have "The Judges' Save" used on him.

"I feel blessed and honored and you know what, being saved, I have never felt so much love in a room before and it was a really cool feeling," he told reporters.  "I think it was probably one of the coolest moments of my life.  It made me feel real special and I hope that people think that it was worth it."

While he was a big fan of being saved, Giraud wasn't as enthused about constant comparisons to Justin Timberlake, which he acknowledged got a "little but annoying" after a while.

"But the thing is I respect him a lot and I really appreciate what he does.  And I knew that people were going to - you know a white guy with soul, it's just how it works," said Giraud. 

"But the thing is, I love it and I was waiting for that to come.  But I think I'm a lot different.  And just what happens is I love his type of music, I can pull it off, I think, but it's not really where I'd want to go musically.  I'd rather be rocking out with some kind of piano band, like the Fray or Gavin DeGraw or something like that."

Giraud also mentioned the Fray and DeGraw when asked what type of album he plans to record.

"I'd actually like to get more into the rock or some soulful rock, maybe like a twist of blues on it," he told reporters.  "I'd love to see myself as a lead man with a piano and a band around me and touring and doing good music, maybe to the likes of Gavin DeGraw and the Fray and stuff like that."

Overall, Giraud said he learned quite a bit from his Idol experience.

"I would take away the fact that I believe in myself more than ever.  I've learned what I'm best at and where my weaknesses are.  And I've learned to deal with the pressure and deal with harsh criticism more than ever," he said.  "You know I never thought I could take a bad comment and now it's almost nothing to me when someone tells me I'm horrible, because the next person tells me I'm great.  So you never know.  So the bad comment roll off now more than ever."

Since he's already been saved once, Giraud took the comedic route when asked which of the remaining Top 4 finalists has the best shot at winning.

"I always joke around and say, 'I think they're going to bring me back,'" he told reporters.  "But I have no idea and I endorse all of them and to be honest with you, I'd be happy if any of them win."