He wasn’t the most surprising elimination possible, but it was obvious on the stage and at the judges’ table that the New Orleans native would be missed on the show. We had a chance to talk to Burnell after the elimination — check out what he had to say on his future career, his crush on Amber Holcomb and more.
What’s going on?
Burnell Taylor: Not much, not much. Just goin’ home. No big deal. I mean, everything happens for a reason. Now it’s time for me to kill it.
Did you expect that you would be eliminated this week?
Burnell Taylor: Yes, this whole week. And it was basically God giving me a sign so that I could be prepared… I feel I went out with a bang. I did what I was supposed to do, I sung my song, and hopefully, someone will reach out to me.
When you were singing to the other competitors, you kissed Amber — was it on the lips or on the cheek?
Burnell Taylor: I wanted to keep it PG13. But I just wanted to let all them know that I love them, and they all capable of killing it. Like, I feel that the place where we’re at right now, we’re all going to be somebody — if we take this experience and run with it. So that was just my message: “Do what you all gotta do. Kill it. And I’m gonna see y’all again.”
[Note: We assume this means he kissed her on the cheek.]
What did Nicki Minaj say to you after the elimination?
Burnell Taylor: She just cried! Probably make me cry, ’cause I wasn’t expecting her to cry. But I gained like a high… I always respected her, all of them. But I gained a higher respect, just seeing that she really cares about me. It means a lot.
We saw that Mariah was crying too. What did she say?
Burnell Taylor: She was just saying, take this experience and do what I gotta do, keep my name hot. And that’s what I’m gonna do.
So what are you going to do?
Burnell Taylor: Ah, only time will tell. But it’s coming!
What is the deal between you and Amber? She mentioned before that the feelings between you were mutual.
Burnell Taylor: I said it once before: A crush only involves one person. So it ain’t a crush.
Were you singing to her tonight?
Burnell Taylor: I sung to all of them. And it took everything in me not to cry. Not because I was sad to, you know, be going home, but… You know, these are people that I didn’t even know last year, so the fact that they’re crying behind me going home, it means a lot. Like, I love them like nobody! I will come head over heels for any one of them. I love them so much, and the fact they showed that they cared for me, it’s so… I love them even more.
Did Amber say anything to you after the show?
Burnell Taylor: Well, she didn’t say much, because everybody was crying! You know, I didn’t want to cry, so… I did but… Unfortunately I did. But, I mean, she didn’t say much. But we’ll talk.
What song would you have wanted to sing as a duet with Amber?
Burnell Taylor: Ooh. [Sings] “If this world were mine…” I don’t know. I guess it would have been a good song because you know that we like each other… We’ll do it on tour.
Now that it’s time to look to your future, what kind of career do you see yourself having?
Burnell Taylor: I want to do so much! I said by the time I’m 25, I better have at least six Grammys. I’m speaking that to existence and I’m doing everything. If I have to be on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Animal Planet, I’m doing everything I can do to keep my name high, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Who would you most like to work with in the future?
Burnell Taylor: I will name everybody right now. Like don’t give me the names because I’m naming everybody. I would love to work with Frank Ocean, Brandy, India Arie, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar… Anybody that’s looking for a brother because I’m coming home! [Laughs] But no seriously, I would love working with all of them — anybody really, anybody.
Do you have a favorite moment from the show that stands out to you?
Burnell Taylor: Honestly, looking back at me, Devin and Lazaro’s performance of “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch…” [laughs] I can laugh about it now because I ain’t on the show! It was fun-ny! It was hilarious! I feel like we all wanted to laugh. We were upset, but we all wanted to laugh, like what are we doing?! It was hilarious, like funny, like I can laugh about it now because it’s over and we learned from it. But it was hilarious!
How about a favorite performance?
Burnell Taylor: Honestly “Ready for Love” when I got into the Top 10 — amazing! And I’m my worst critic. Every time I listened to it I thought, “You better sing boy. You better sing.” I liked that and I liked “This Time” by John Legend.
Are you excited to go home a hometown hero?
Burnell Taylor: Yes, absolutely. And my birthday is on the 14th, so I get to enjoy my birthday!