Chris Sligh may have been voted off of American Idol on Wednesday (March 28) night, but talking to reporters on Thursday, the booted contestant expressed no regret.
In fact, Sligh admits that he nearly self-truncated his Idol run.
"I never came into this wanting to win it," he swears. "I come from an indie alternative rock background. For me, I think that winning American Idol would hurt what I was really going for. I think what kind of solidified it in my mind was when I was pretty much universally trashed for my arrangement of ‘Endless Love.’ I thought, ‘This isn’t really the competition for me.’ Actually, I almost dropped out that week. I went to the guy from 19 [Entertainment], and I was like, ‘If I drop out when I make the Top 10, can I still be on tour?’ They were like, ‘No, you have to get voted out.’"
Having clinched his spot in the Top 10 after Stephanie Edwards’ elimination last week, Sligh will now get to tour.
While his elimination was only a minor surprise for viewers who witnessed the judges eviscerate Slight after a tempo-challenged rendition of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," the 28-year-old South Carolina resident has a slightly controversial opinion on the performance.
"I went back and listened to my performance from Tuesday probably about 10 or 15 times," Sligh says. "It wasn’t a great performance, but honestly, it was not as bad as what the judges made it seem. But that’s part of being on the show. As soon as they gave me the spanking that they did, I kind of knew that I was going home."
How confident was Slight that the end was near? Well, he bet Phil Stacey $50 that this would be his last week, a wager that became public knowledge at the end of Wednesday’s show.
"[T]he last couple of weeks, Stephanie and Brandon’s performances hadn’t been shown on TV," Slight notes. "So I honestly did not know that they were still filming me. I thought I was just singing like Brandon and Stephanie. I had no idea that my shout-out, ‘You owe me $50,’ was going to 30 million people."
In case you’re curious, Phil has already paid up.
Some other highlights and tidbits from Sligh’s exit interview:
On the rhythmic difficulties that doomed his final performance: "I honestly have never had rhythmic difficulties in my whole life as a musician. I think a lot of it has to do with this is the first time I had ever sung without a guitar. I guess I didn’t realize how much my rhythm was tied in with my hands playing a guitar."
On his early cheeky comments about the show and whether there’s room for somebody to succeed on Idol while subverting its cheesier moments: "I wondered that myself. Here’s the thing with American Idol. I have figured this out because of the unique position that I was in, it’s funny because I love the show, but at the same time there are some cheesy aspects that I poked fun at. There are people who love the show so much that anything that is bad said about the show, or especially if you say something bad about Simon, for instance — as I did and got screwed for it — People were telling me that they hoped that I would die because I told Simon I didn’t sound like Teletubbies.
So it kind of freaked me out because people take American Idol very, very seriously. I don’t know. I would hope that people would realize that me joking around about the show is very, very tongue and cheek because if I’m joking around about the show, it’s something that I’m in, and taking part of and I can’t be too upset with American Idol if they’re making me famous."
On whether he toned down his sense of humor after those reactions: "I did. Honestly, I think that it was when I started getting the hate mail from people that I went, "Whoa, what is this?" I think it kind of scared me, honestly. I had people who were telling me that they hoped I die, and that I would get my rear end voted off the show tomorrow. It was just horrible, horrible things that people wrote to me. I think it kind of scared me a little bit. So I think for a couple of weeks, I kept my mouth shut for three weeks. It was tough because I felt like the last couple of weeks I was starting to get back in my groove, and then I go home."
On the immortal Sanjaya Malakar: "I think that people underestimate Sanjaya. I think that Sanjaya is actually a very good vocalist. If you go to AmericanIdol.com and you download his songs, or even just listen to a preview, he has a good voice. He’s 17 years old. When I was 17 years old, I don’t think that I knew how to sing in a live situation. I think that he gets a bum rap. He’s a very, very sweet kid."
On whether he’s still planning to bring chubby back, or whether he wants to lose more weight: "Bringing chubby back was something I said back before I started to really, really lose weight. That was back at the Final 24 when I made that, which was a long, long time ago. So I started losing weight pretty hard after that, and I’ve lost about 30 pounds, and I’m actually planning on losing some more weight. I think that when I get back to the finale, I’m hoping that everyone will be surprised that it’s the same Chris Sligh."
And check out all of our Complete Zap2it American Idol Coverage.