Curtis Finch, Jr. was available on a conference call last Friday afternoon. Following are his comments. Maybe it was his personality rather than his vocal ability that left him as the first of the Top 10 to be eliminated. You can decide for yourself…

What kind of album do you see yourself making?

CF:  “I see myself being a very inspirational type singer, just talking about love, just talking about how you can overcome, and how you can make it. I don’t really know what that entails at this moment, but I just know that I really live to inspire everybody across America.”

If you had the opportunity to sing with one singer, who would it be?

CF:  “It would definitely be Marvin Gaye. I think he’s an incredible singer.”

Do you regret your song choice (“I Believe”) this week?

CF:  “I don’t regret any decision I made on the show. Because American Idol

has been so influential in my life. I don’t just make these decisions on a whim. I always say to myself, ‘If I can commit myself totally to the song and the lyrics, then I’m going to commit to it. So I don’t regret a thing.”


What were your plans for next week?

CF: “The same as every week. To really give itmy all and do the best that I could. But America didn’t see it that way, so here I am.”

Do you think that Nicki Minaj missing your performance (she was 15 minutes late and Curtis sang first) affected your votes considering what a big fan she

CF: “Absolutely not. She (Nicki) is not the only judge on the panel. At the end of the day, if I get done singing and those judges have no response, it’s still up to America to use the phone, or use the American Idol app or go online and vote for me. I think things were really inevitable. You really can’t change yesterday, you can only just focus on tomorrow and make sure that everything is in line for my future as it pertains to my career.”

Is there any embarrassment being the first one to be sent home?

CF: “Absolutely not. I really feel like if I was gonna get eliminated, there’s no embarrassment in getting cut 10th or 5th. It really just is what it is. I get a chance to tour with these guys. I get the chance to travel the world and grow as an artist with these guys. No embarrassment. All gratefulness.”

When you were singing for the save, did you think there was a chance the judges would keep you?

CF: “You never know with American Idol. Some things work in your favor and some things don’t. They didn’t choose to use the save on me, but I’m sure whoever they choose to use it on,–since everybody left is extremely talented–it will be well deserved.”

Do you feel you have grown as an artist since first auditioning for the show?

CF: “I feel like I’ve grown so much, because really, you have to sing for this show–be it for live recordings or dress rehearsals for the show daily. I’ve had to be vocally prepared for that. I had to rest up at night, as much as I can, and I had to really prepare. I feel like there’s so many things I know now that I didn’t know at first. I feel like I’m overcoming.”

How do you feel about Nicki’s positive reaction toward you?

CF: “It made me feel good. Because, really, I sing from my heart, and I really felt like I’ve touched Nicki’s heart in such a way that she didn’t want to see me leave.”

What was going through your mind when you found out that the results would be

CF:  “I always really expect the worst, so I won’t be surprised. When the cameras are on you, you really can’t go back and  redo any facial expressions or anything that you may want to say or do. I was  prepared to make it through or to go home. So, here we are.”

What would you say to yours fans to persuade them to keep watching the show?

CF:  “I really want everyone who has been supporting me to keep supporting my friends because I’m talented, I know that. But at the same time, there’s nine talents that are still left that are incredibly talented. I want them to call and vote for them as well because these
guys deserve to be–every single one of them–the next American Idol.”

Were you bummed that Nicki missed your performance?

CF: “When I got off stage, she was the first face I saw. She gave me a high five and told me I did a good job. That was very warming for me, because I’ll always live for the great support from all 4 judges.”

What direction would you like to take his career?

CF: “I want to go in a love direction. Because I really feel like God is love. As long as I’m not singing anything provocative or anything that can offend anyone across the world–that I would be doing things that make people feel better about their day. What I love about music is that people just want to feel things a certain way. You really don’t have to be offensive to do so.”

What was it about Idol specifically that appealed to you, rather than another
competition reality show. Did you audition for anything else?

CF: “No. Absolutely not. American Idol searches around the world for talent, all across the world. People really get a chance to be discovered. Without American Idol, there would not be The Sing Off, or The Voice or these other shows that people…In my opinion, there always has to be an example of something. There always has to be a chalkboard for somebody to learn
something off of. American Idol is that. It’s the original. It’s the best. The No. 1 show. I love it.”

What was first running through your head the first time you sang in front of a huge audience?

CF: “I really want to make them smile, because I really feel like I just exude joy. And so I really want everybody that hears me sing to feel happy. Because there’s so many things going on in the world to frown about. So to hear a gift–nothing I’ve given myself, but something I felt that God has given me be used to in such a way to put a smile on people’s faces. It’ s the best feeling in the world.”

Were you shocked that you ended up in last place?

CF: “Not at all. People are always watching how you handle things. It’s my responsibility, whether things work in my favor or not, to remain calm and to know that I have to set the best example when eyes are on me.”

Did you ever find out which judges voted no on the save?

CF: “I really don’t try to harp on or think about who said no, because that was something done in the past, and I can’t go back and change it, and anybody that’s upset about it can’t go back and change it. I just really look towards the future, and just strive to be the best that I can be, where I am now.”

What was it like to have a close friend by his side (Candice) as you auditioned (he
knew her last season too)?

CF: “It was amazing, because I know the struggle of no. I know the pain of no. And so to feel the joy of yes, it feels epic.”

What did Mariah say to you when you came off stage after your elimination?

CF: “She always gives me great feedback. So she didn’t really say anything different than she had been saying since I’d been on the show–to keep my head up, remain consistent and remain 100 percent authentic.”

Who would you like to go on tour with, Charlie or Aubrey?

CF: “Either one. I really wish they could bring every contestant that sang Idol for the season back, because this season was filled with extremely amazing talent. It doesn’t matter to me. They’re both awesome. I hope they both can come back, actually.”

Were the judges critical enough of you this year?

CF: “The judges always talk with so much passion. However they feel about a contestant, be it light or a bad light, they’re going to say it. So, there’s this thing that exists called favor. And I really feel like I have been favored in this competition. There’s nothing that I did on my own. I really feel like it’s God . The fact that I brought consistency every time I sang, and I gave it
my all, I think the judges recognized that.”

To put your Idol journey into perspective … what were you doing at Easter this time last year?

CF: “I was back home in St. Louis rehearsing for a performance at my church.”

Can you elaborate on the connection you had with Mariah?

“What you see on television is basically what you get. She’s been supportive of me both privately and publically. She said I made her cry, and that there was moments that I sang that she really needed that in her life. She didn’t really say anything in private that she hadn’t already said publically.”

Are you thinking far ahead into the future?

CF:  “I’m always thinking far ahead. I’m always looking to see what my next step will be. First of all, the summer tour  is coming up, with the other Idols. So I’m very elated about that because I get to grow as an artist. with them. I get to cry, I get to laugh, I get to act goofy, I get to hang out with the other nine contestants. I’m having a blast. I’m definitely looking forward to then. I would love to sit down in the studio and work with Alicia Keys, R. Kelly , maybe go on Glee one time. Do some acting. Maybe Broadway. Really the sky’s the limit. There are no limits when it comes to what I feel like I’ve been gifted to do. We shall see. Tune in guys.”

Do you have any good stories from being inside the Idol house?

CF:  “No.”

Besides Candice, who else has he been close to?

CF:  “Burnell, Devin, Kree, Angie…because really, I thought when I was leaving St. Louis, that I was leaving my family. I didn’t know that God would give me another one once I got here. We’ve just become so close and so kind-hearted towards each other because, not only do they
possess such huge gifts as it pertains to vocal ability, but they are very charismatic and very loving and adorable people. I love being around them.

The season has been dubbed “the girls’ to lose.” Does that put the guys at a

CF: “Absolutely not. The talent that has been found and put in the top 10 is very amazing. America is going to have a huge task ahead of them, because everybody there are vocal beasts. ”

So,  the guys really have a chance?

CF: “Absolutely. All of them. You can pick one. Everybody has something that they bring different to the table, and when  they do that effectively, it goes through the TV and the voters pick up the  phone and they vote, or they go on the app and they vote, or they go on American and they vote. These contestants…their gifts come straight from their  heart and it reaches the hearts of American people all over the world.”

Again,  which judge do you think said no when you sang for the save?,

CF:   “I think it’s pretty obvious that Nicki said yes. I really don’t know. I was focusing on singing my heart out at that  moment. Whoever was saying yes or no really didn’t matter, because I really feel  like the fans said yes. And as long as they said yes, then my heart is

What  did you think about what Jimmy Iovine said about your song choices? Would you have changed things up next week?

CF:   “I guess we will never know.”

Do yous agree with the judges that your performance wasn’t as strong as previous weeks?

CF:  “I always give 100 percent How that’s perceived by the judges….I wouldn’t be on American Idol if I wasn’t going to  give my all anyway.”

Who was your biggest influence growing up as a child?

CF: “My parents. I’m a huge family guy They really trained me up to really be an awesome young man and I still look up  to them to this day.”

What was your favorite moment from your time on American Idol?

CF: “Probably the time I got a chance to sing ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ Because I just remember the energy from the audience was amazing, and to open my eyes and to see the judges standing on their feet. It just felt like I was standing in a room full of believers, knowing that they can
do anything once they set their minds to it.”

What was the best piece of advice you received from any of the judges or Jimmy that you really took to heart and used?

CF: “After ‘Superstar,’ Randy asked me how old I was, and I said, ’25.’ He was like, ‘That’s good. I think you can sing anything, so I want to make sure that you understand that you should keep it young.’ That’s why I tried to change up my dressing style–a nice jacket with some jeans–just to be relevant to America..

Did you really want to win, or was the Top 10 your goal?

CF: “I’ve always felt that I had to sing looking toward the end, even during my Chicago audition, I was thinking about the finale. You have to work in order to be successful. I can never go through the motions, if I want to do my best. My mindset was definitely thinking about the confetti coming down and the crown being on my head.”