Following is a transcript of Heejun’s Friday morning conference call:
Q: What was it like living in the Idol mansion?
“The house is humongous. I’m talking about like the biggest house in this whole world. It literally took me like 20 minutes to find my own room. We have our movie theaters and everything. Everything was really fancy and overwhelming, but at the same time I was kind of sad because I was hoping that we could have this kind of circumstance–the building and the fancy stuff–with my kids. But I had fun.”
Q: What did Jennifer Lopez say to you after the show?
“She came up to me, with the teary eyes, and she said, ‘I was convincing them to save you but I lost’. Only her vote counts for me, I guess. Randy and Steven could just. Whatever.”
Q: What did America want from you?
“I have no idea. You guys guys voted George Bush a second time. I had no idea what you guys were doing. All the joking aside. Everyone has different tastes. I can’t please everyone, I’m just happy that I made it this far.”
Q: If FOX were to give him his own sitcom, what would be the premise?
“It should be an Asian guy who is trying to go out with a really really pretty blond girl.”
Q: What did Randy say to you afterward about auditioning for sitcoms?
“Word goes out really fast, huh? He grabbed me and said, ‘Dude, you are a great singer, but DAWG, you have to be in a sitcom.’ And I said, ‘Well Randy, I just got voted off from a singing competition and this is all the advice you can give me?’ That’s what happened.”
Q: Would you be interested in a sitcom?
“Of course! I’m not going to be picky about anything. I really want to make something out of this regardless…if they are willing to work with me I’ll do it.”
Q: How do you feel about the criticism that you didn’t take the competition seriously?
“That’s a no-brain question. If I didn’t take this competition seriously, I would have never started from the first place–waiting hours and hours of auditions, rehearsal and all the hard work. right?”
Q: Did you have a chance to straighten things out with Steven after his Billy Joel performance?
“No. We kind of hugged it out after my ‘Song For You’ performance.’”
Q: Who do you think will win?
“Well. At this point since I didn’t make the competition, I hope no one will win.”
Not even Phillip Phillips?
“Why does it have to be Phillip Phillips?”
Q: Were you surprised to be eliminated this week after the judges’ praise?
“It’s an ironic situation where you can be pleased and you can be sad about it because you had performance where you get to show who you are and you got voted off. But I get to finish the show on a high note.”
Then Heejun said, “I’m not trying to be a star, I’m just really happy where I am”. Did this mean he didn’t want to win the competition? “Did he care about winning? Did saying that cause fans to stop voting for him? “This is my first live national TV debut. So when everything comes to you so quickly, you have no idea how to react to it. I’m just an ordinary guy who happened to be No. 9 on American Idol. You never thought you could ever make it. You’ve been doubting yourself your whole life. When you’re having that moment–when the biggest producer in this industry, which is Jimmy Iovine saying ‘You’re not going to win this competition and we’re not going to spend a penny on him because he doesn’t deserve it and he’s disrespecting the process,’ then my reaction has to be automatically, ‘I know I know, I’m not trying to be a star. Just calm down.’ Ya know? That was my natural reaction to it. People can take it as ‘He doesn’t want to be on the whole thing.’ But at that time, at least, I was really genuinely sincere about how humble I am to this competition–the spot that I am standing was pretty much more than I deserved I guess? That was my perspective. “
Q: Tell us about your choice to cover the iconic Donny Hathaway.
“I had no idea they had been singing (A Song For You) a lot of times. I had no idea.”
Q: Why did you choose “A Song for You”?
“I like the lyrics ‘I’ve been singing 10,000 people, but I’m just singing to you. It was literally saying, ‘I’ve been in this competition singing to millions and millions of people and now I really want to show my appreciation towards people who have been believing in me and supporting me.’ Maybe I knew it was going to be my last stage.”
Q: How did you feel when Steven Tyler told you on Billy Joel week that he wasn’t taking things seriously?
“We had our different perspective. I was trying to give fun time to America, because I thought it was going to be entertaining, and it’s going to be fun and everything. But maybe he took it wrong. But I can’t please everyone. I am happy that I got to show a little bit of fun side of me.”
Q: When are you coming back to New York? Will you go back to work with his kids?
“I’m coming back on Sunday this week, but I’m having press until Thursday, so I might have to see them next week.”
Q: If you could go back to the beginning of your Idol journey and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?
“Do not try this at home. I was kidding. Singing competition, model competition, anything–when it comes down to competition, it’s really just literally saying ‘your competing against each other.’ It’s a hunger game, but just not killing each other. Why do we always have to be so serious when only one person is going to survive? Right? So might as well have fun and have a thick skin and stay true to yourself.”
Q: What is he most looking forward to about the tour?
“The things that I show during the competition and TV is not going to be half as crazy as I’m going to show on the tour. It’s going to be awesome, crazy. It’s not a competition any more, so I’m just going to have crazy crazy fun with my audience.”
Q: Phillip was crying last night. Did Heejun cry?
“I think he was faking it. I was kidding. We were best friends since day 1 and I really really wish him the best of luck, cause he has what it takes. I’m pretty sure he’s going to do well, and I didn’t cry because I don’t want to cry. I left the mansion really early on purpose–I knew I was going to be really emotional.”
Q: Does he think he’ll get a record deal, even though Jimmy said UMG wouldn’t spend any money on him?
“I don’t really want to work with him anyways,. I was kidding. He is the greatest mentor in this industry could ever ask , supposedly. We have our different perspectives towards the life–even the song itself so–I don’t know what’s going to happen but I really want to prove him wrong and I really do want to make him regret saying that.”
Q: On his friendship with Phil Phillips.
“I thought this interview was about me, not Phillip? Kidding. Phillip and I had a different perspective towards the competition. He didn’t want it to become a fancy…or anyone like that. He really really loves music, and he really really wanted to make a career out of it, because he loves the music itself. I started off this competition to help my kids out. Our goal was not to become an ultimate, huge, successful, mega superstar, but our goal was really humble, so that’s where we connected, I guess.”
•On Stevie and Jimmy speculating that his funny guy personality was a “defense mechanism.”
“I have no idea where they get that knowledge from. What the heck is defense mechanism? What is that? People do watch lots of dramas and CSI–they are just way over thinking it. I’m just a funny guy who happened to be on American Idol. I was just being myself throughout the whole competition.”
•What does he see as his next move? “I’m not going to be picky. I’m just going to take any opportunities that I are ahead of me–sitcom, movie, drama, singing, dancing–anything that is ahead of me, I’m going to do it.”
Q: Who was his favorite guest mentor?
“Stevie Nicks. She was well prepared. She was the one who actually gave me the really great advice, saying that you have to be effortless when you’re singing. Which is amazing advice, because I was trying to impress people too hard. That’s when you fall. She gave me advice saying just tell your story, and do not try to impress anyone.”
Q: What was your best performance?
“My Life by Billy Joel.”
Q: Did the men think they had an advantage over the girls in the competition?
“To be really really honest, I don’t…really have any thoughts on that (laughing) I think–it’s not really about who’s the best female or male artist. At the end of the day, it’s going to be just best singers. If not, who can make something out of this opportunity. I’m pretty sure there are girls who been voting for lots of guys. I’m pretty sure it’s the same game for everyone. At the end of the day, this is a singing competition.”
Q: •Do you think a woman can win again?
“May the best entertainer win. It doesn’t have to be men or a woman…I don’t know if it’s going to be men or women. To be honest, I really don’t care I guess? (laughing) If I really have to choose, I prefer a girl as a winner of this season.”
(Note: Heejun suggested to the Insider that he thought Diddy was drunk during the mentoring session…
“(laughing) I have no comment on that.”
Q: Would it have been realistic to use the judges save this week?
“It was too early, of course. It was way too early to use their card. I’m pretty sure they are saving for a couple of other people. It was pretty fair and square. Yep.”
Q: Would you audition for another singing show?
“I was 110% joking. I’m not doing any competition any more. Except for America’s Next Top Model.”
His closing remarks: “Thank you guys for voting. Thank you guys for believing in me. I started off this competition to show the world that if you really really truly believe in yourself, you can make something out of it. And if you really really do stuff for others outcome is beyond your imagination. I was just focused on entertaining you guys. I hope it worked. I had fun, amazing journey and it’s only going to get crazier if you just tune in to me, anytime I’m on TV. Thank you.”