Following is a transcript of the final media conference with last week’s eliminated contestant DeAndre Brackensick:
Moderator – Welcome to the American Idol Interview call with DeAndre. I’d also like to remind you that today’s conference is being recorded. I’ll now turn the conference over to Jennifer Reed for opening remarks. Please go ahead.
Jennifer – Hi, everybody. Thanks so much for joining us today for the American Idol Eliminated Conference call with DeAndre. As a reminder, he’s here to talk about his experience on American Idol and his plans moving forward. As always, if we feel anyone is harping on any one subject, we do reserve the right to jump in and move the call along.
Moderator – That will come from Matt Carter with Examiner.com.
Matt- My question for you is just how difficult is it for you or for anybody to start the show because I think you were first in two out of the past three performance shows. Is that harder to do for you than going in the middle?
DeAndre – little bit because you have to have that level of being really good to start off the show, and it kind of sucks going off the show because you know you don’t want to get forgotten, but everything happens for a reason, so I was happy no matter what. It was cool.
Matt – Did you get a chance to talk to any of the judges or any of the other contestants after you were eliminated last night?
DeAndre – The judges came and talked to me and just told me to keep doing what I’m doing and that I’m going to keep going on in life with music, and I did get to see some of the contestants at the mansion when I was packing up. It was all love, and everybody’s amazing.
Moderator – Next we have Mark Stone with Castanet Media.
Mark – Do you think Jimmy was being a little hard on you, and did you get a chance to talk to him after last night?
DeAndre – No, not at all. Jimmy has an opinion. Everybody has their own opinion, and it’s going to come from either Jimmy, from fans, from people that don’t like, from my friends and family. It’s going to come regardless.
So, I have much love for him for doing that. I have nothing but respect for him, and even though it did come off like that, it drove me even harder to try to prove him wrong. So, in the end, he helped me, and everything he has said to me helped me in the long run.
Mark – Follow-up question, before you were saying … were you talking to someone in the audience, or were you talking to your family?
DeAndre – I was talking to my sister because she was crying. I just told her just to not cry because there’s no reason to cry because I accomplished so much and why be sad for things I’ve done. You shouldn’t be sad because I’ve done so much. Why dwell on something that didn’t happen but rejoice on the things that have?
Moderator – Next we have Michael Weinfeld with Associated Press Broadcast.
Michael – Being 17, what did you have to do that the older contestants didn’t, like schoolwork or maybe having an earlier curfew?
DeAndre – School, me and Jessica, we had to do schoolwork, and we had different call times, sometimes earlier. Sometimes we got pulled out earlier just for minors, but it was kind of nice. It made things a little bit easier being a minor, I guess.
Michael – You’ll get to go on the Idol tour this summer. Who do you think is going to be the most fun on the tour, and what do you think the tour is going to be like for you?
DeAndre – Everybody has their fun moments. It’s just going to be a fun experience all around because we’re so close. It’s a really close bond that we have for each other, and it’s going to be really fun. I really want people to come watch the show to see it in person how individual everybody is. You can’t compare anybody to anybody because they’re just so different and so uniquely talented.
Moderator – We now have a question from Todd Betzold with RealityWanted.com.
Todd – My first one is just the judges gave you high praise on your performance on Wednesday night and then Jimmy had the bad words and they stuck by their words from Wednesday. So, I was just wondering did this vote come off as kind of a shock? Were you thinking that you were safe going into it?
DeAndre – This vote was …. I thought I did a very, very well job the night before, and even though it did happen, it happens. It’s just I can’t really explain the feeling I had. It was just more a numbness because I didn’t know what to feel because I was happy for myself, but I just didn’t want to go.
Todd – Right, yes. Then, during the show, you got to meet Eric Benet. So, what was that like for you?
DeAndre – That was amazing. That was the highlight of the whole Idol experience. I loved meeting Eric Benet. He’s a big influence to me as an artist.
Moderator – We’ll go now to Jessica Wedemeyer with People Magazine.
Jessica – Last night, you mentioned to reporters that although you would prefer to stay with the show, obviously, one thing you were looking forward to about getting back home is going to your prom. Just wondering how weird or surreal it’s going to be to pop back in such a normal environment after going through this experience.
DeAndre – It’s going to be somewhat weird because I’m just so used to be busy, busy, busy, busy and just used to the Idol life. But I think it’ll be easy just to slip right back in, but hopefully I don’t got to slip right back in for the rest of my life. Hopefully, this is a nice little break, and then, I’ll be busy for the rest of my life. That’s what I want to do.
Jessica – Prom is something that teenagers, high school kids look forward to for years. Is it going to be anticlimactic in a way?
DeAndre – I guess so, but-hold on. Idol really brought a confidence out of me because all the previous dances, I worked like as coat taker and ticket taker and stuff like that, and I feel comfortable enough just to go to prom and just enjoy it, and I’m glad I get to enjoy life as a kid, just the little things as a kid. Then, get to go enjoy the high life of Idol. So, I guess I get the best of both worlds.
Moderator – We have a question from Chuck Barney with the San Jose Mercury News.
Chuck — She actually asked some of the questions I wanted to, but I just said okay, I want to know what happens now. When do you get back home, and when do you think you’re going to be back in the school and stuff like that?
DeAndre – I get back home in about a week, and I’m not going to go back to school because I’ll only be there for about a couple of weeks. I’m just going to stay homeschooled and independent study because I’m going to go back for tour practices, but I’ll be home. I really can’t wait to come see all the support I got from San Jose.
Chuck – Yes, and you are going to your prom? When is that?
DeAndre – Yes, I am. It’s April 21st, I think.
Chuck – You said you had never been to a prom or a big dance at your school before?
DeAndre – I have. I just worked at them though. I was coat taker at junior prom, ticket taker at Homecoming. I was Homecoming King, but I was ticket taker, and like bag taker and stuff. I just worked because I was just so uncomfortable with myself.
Chuck – But that’s changing, you think?
DeAndre – Yes.
Moderator – We’ll go next to Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine.
Jamie – I was wondering, what advice did you receive while you were on the show that you’re going to carry with you?
DeAndre – Just to stick to myself. That was a big thing that I was struggling with because I always wanted to try to please people, and it just never works. When you please yourself, everything comes out together. You feel comfortable and people love it better when you do what you want. The judges voted me in because they loved me, so why would I change myself if that’s not what I even got in there for the first place.
Jamie – How do you maintain the curl of your hair? A lot of people are wondering.
DeAndre – It’s natural.
Jamie – You don’t use any product or anything in your hair?
DeAndre – I use like a little leave-in conditioner, but it’s natural even without stuff in it. It looks the same, actually.
Moderator – Next, we have Michele Angermiller with the Hollywood Reporter.
Michele – My question for you is that it seems like a lot of times contestants come on the show and they don’t know their music history. Like, for instance, 80s week, some contestants wouldn’t know what to perform, but the big difference with you is you do know your music history. You know Earth, Wind and Fire. You know all those groups. So, what I want to know is how important you think that is in this competition. Does it help to know your history?
DeAndre – It does help because you just get thrown with a whole bunch of different genres just randomly. You need to know different styles, different genres, different decades of music and because song choice is the whole game of Idol. That’s the whole game at first. To know the history of the music, to know old things, to know new things, just to know what you’re singing and how to sing them, is really important.
Michele – Now, Randy said that he would have done a record with you that would sound a lot like the DeBarge’s, I Like It. What I want to know is what you would want your record to sound like. What kind of an artist do you want to be?
DeAndre – I want to be an R&B artist, true R&B soul with the … of the old school kind of stuff. I want to bring that back a lot because I think music is just really lacking that and people just need to know that there are other things. I want to bring back instruments because people don’t really use them as much now. Everything’s computers, and it’s just really-not that I don’t like music nowadays. I love music nowadays. It’s just I just want people to know that there’s other things out there too.
Michele – And you do play the ukulele and instruments.
DeAndre – Yes I do.
Michele – So, you would definitely bring that flavor on an album. Well, thank you, DeAndre, and lots of luck to you. You have a good future ahead of you.
Moderator – Our next question is from Beth Kwiatkowski with Reality TV World.
Beth – Jimmy Iovine said it was most likely going to be you or Holly packing your bags to go home when he reviewed your performance during last night’s results show. What was your reaction to that? Do you think he was a little too hard on you, and how did it make you feel when the judges immediately came to your defense and stood by their positive feedback of you?
DeAndre – Jimmy saying that, it was fine. People have their own opinions. It doesn’t bother me at all. It comes along with the gift and with the ride. So, whatever he says is all out of love and I take everything to heart whether it be bad. I have to take that, and it makes me want to drive to go further. I really loved how the judges stood by my back. I love our judges. What you see on TV is what you get off TV because they’ve always been supporting me since the beginning, and it just made me feel good, really good.
So, even though I did get eliminated, I’m glad I got eliminated the way I did. I went off on a good note. I went off happy. It wasn’t a sad moment in the way where I had a regret or I did something wrong. I have no regrets. I felt like I did what I needed to do and I just got cut just because of competition sake.
Beth – Jennifer Lopez admitted she wanted to use the judges save on you. Did you ever get a better explanation as to why Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler weren’t on board with her to save you? I was wondering whether you were a little surprised Steven Tyler didn’t, considering you were his wild pick at the beginning of the competition.
DeAndre – I didn’t ask because people have their reason. I don’t really want to ask, but I just think because I was a wild card, I just think I don’t need to be saved again. This is my second chance from last year. So, it’s my second chance on Idol.
Then, I got a second chance with wild card. You only get so many second chances in life. You just need to make good of what you have now. I think even getting this far, I could deal something off of this, and I think they believe in me too that I don’t really need the whole show to be who I want to be.
Moderator – Next, we have Mesha McDaniel with Celebrity Profile Entertainment.
Mesha – During your mentorship with Gwen Stefani, she said you always look worried when you perform. Do you feel like you lack confidence due to your nerves?
DeAndre – I think it’s just the fact that it’s being judged and you’re just waiting for acceptance even though there’s a lot of times I felt really good about it. I just didn’t show it on my face. I was just waiting for what they were going to say and that was partially my problem was I was just always waiting for acceptance, and what I realized is if I accept it, then I’m fine. If it met up to my standards, then it should be good. I shouldn’t have to worry about anything.
Mesha – You had the opportunity to save yourself from last night’s elimination, but the song you sang didn’t really showcase your vocal ability at its best. I thought maybe you would have chosen Maxwell or Usher genre since you have that falsetto. Why did you choose the song that you did?
DeAndre – Because I had a feeling I wasn’t going to get saved because I was saved already from the wild card. So, even though that song didn’t show off really anything, I wanted to leave on a happy note on something fun. I didn’t want it to be something sad. I didn’t want to dwell on the things that I didn’t accomplish, but just look on and just be happy about what I did accomplish throughout this whole experience.
Moderator – We will move onto Kristyn Clarke with PopCultureMadness.com.
Kristyn – I’m curious, what is possibly one thing that you were surprised to learn about yourself through being part of the show?
DeAndre – Just that I’m able to be at that level with everybody else, and it took me a really long while to realize that I’m in the same competition as everybody. I’m good enough. Why do I have to feel intimidated with everybody?
This is my family. They support me. I support them. There’s no reason to feel that way. My own idol came over and told me I did a great job with one of his songs. I could do what I want to do. I have the talent. I’m able. That’s basically one thing I really learned. I gained a lot of confidence from this.
Kristyn – What are you most looking forward to about going on tour?
DeAndre – I’m really looking forward to number one is being with everybody and just singing because I love to sing with people, that’s a big thing for me, and going to my hometown and performing for everybody from all the love I’ve been getting and hearing about. So, it’ll be really cool.
Moderator – We have a question from Alex Gonzalez with La Prensa De Houston.
Alex – So, going back to what someone had mentioned earlier, I remember Jennifer Lopez on Wednesday called you a shining star saying that you were making a comeback, and then, on Thursday, the next day you get voted off. What do you make of that? Do you think the voters are making the right choices or maybe they’re kind of lost, or what do you make of that?
DeAndre – Nothing. I just think everything happens for a reason, and I think partially because of the voting, why I got kicked off is just my voice and my style is not popular nowadays. I’m trying to bring back something, and it’s still in the process of bringing it back. It’s something that got lost and unappreciated in this new generation, and I think that was partially the reason.
But also, everyone is so good. Someone has to go home one week. Every week, someone has to go home. So, it had to be me this week, and I just have to take what I got and just be grateful for what I did get to experience.
Alex – We all know Steven Tyler picked you as his wild card. Do you think that being a wild card pick gave you a disadvantage going into the competition?
DeAndre – Somewhat just because I just think America didn’t really get to see my full voice because it was only based off of one performance because I only got shown the day before, and it was all falsetto. They didn’t really get to show my low register back in Hollywood week and everything and all the other auditions I did. So, I’m glad I did get to show the other side of me that was there, and I think that was basically it.
Alex – Well, what do you see as your next move?
DeAndre – Tour, number one. Then, hopefully getting a record deal out of this or something and whatever comes my way, I’m trying to grab it as much as I can whether it be modeling, acting, anything. I just want it, and I just want to keep working. Like I said before, I want to be exhausted the day I die.
Moderator – Next we have Michael Jodha with CTV.
Michael – I apologize if these questions have already been asked. I joined late, but after the positive comments you received from the judges, did you think that you’d be going home after that performance?
DeAndre – No, I didn’t think it. I thought that was probably one of my best performances vocally and just performance wise. So, it kind of sucks that I did get to go home, but you just deal with it and you just move on. You just take the experience and just move on forward with it.
Michael – Did you take any of Jimmy’s comments to heart because his critiques of your performance were completely opposite of what the judges said?
DeAndre – Yes. I took everything Jimmy said to heart, and it was completely opposite, almost like every week. Even though it wasn’t all positive, the negative drives me, and I take that to heart no matter what it is and even just certain little things he tells me there, I take it and it makes me a better artist, whether it be in someone else’s eyes, my eyes or his. It makes me a better artist.
I take the things I want, and that’s one thing I learned through this is that I need to learn from people not listen. Take what I want and apply it to who I am, not take what they tell me and make myself what they want. That’s what I learned from Jimmy.
Jennifer – We have time for one more question, Kathy.
Moderator – That will be a followup from Beth Kwiatkowski with Reality TV World.
Beth – Just a couple last questions. You became a part of the top 13, obviously, as a wild card pick at the beginning of the season. So, did you think you were kind of on borrowed time a little bit going in to the rest of the performance shows considering most of the other guys had already received more votes than you? Were you worried since the start of the season that you may not make it as far as you hoped, or did you think you could actually eventually win America over?
DeAndre – A little bit. There’s still a little bit of fear. Me, Jeremy and Erika, we all sat down that night and talked about it. It brought us down a little bit because we didn’t-we were a judges’ picks, but we didn’t know what was going to happen later on because America didn’t want us at that time, but I think being that judges’ pick, it drove me even more. Even getting this far, I’m still shocked because I just accomplished so much from being America’s nobody to winning at least a portion of America being on my back. I love it. I love it so much.
Jennifer – I want to thank everybody for joining the call today. As a reminder, all artwork can be found on FoxFlash.com. At this time, I’ll turn the call back over to DeAndre for some final remarks and then you can disconnect. DeAndre?
DeAndre – Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you guys for helping me forward myself and just getting me out there. I really appreciate all the calls and questions and just hit up Jen if you want more because I’m glad to take more, please, please. Love you, Jen. Thank you.