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Eliminated American Idol 12 contestant, Paul Jolley, talked with reporters on a conference call on Friday afternoon. Following is a Q&A of that interview session:

What kind of album would you like to make?

PJ:  “I still want to stick with the country pop. I don’t want to change what I feel in my heart, what my calling is. and  what I need to be doing.”

What were your first thoughts when you got up onto the stage, before the huge audience?

PJ:, “Before I got up there, I was just trying to make sure that my mind was clear
and I was being focused on the big picture and not get distracted.”

Out of the remaining guys, who has the best chance to win?

PJ: “Honestly, I don’t know. Everybody is so good–each in their own individual way.
Everybody has their own genre that they’re doing. It’s basically the battle of
the genres rather than who the better person is.”

What advice did the judges give you after you were eliminated?

PJ: “A few of them came up and they just told me to keep on keeping on, and believe
in myself.”

Were you confused by the conflicting advice that you received throughout the competition?

PJ:  “I was kind of confused, because every week it was something new. I appreciated that a lot because I always want that room to grow. I really appreciate them telling me things that I can work on.”

Is it the end of the “white guys with guitars”?

PJ:  “For this show, yes. But, in my eyes, I’ve already won.”

Do you agree with Jimmy Iovine that the judges are being too easy on the
contestants this season?

PJ: “I don’t agree with it. I feel like they’ve been really really easy on a lot of the other contestants, but for some reason I feel like I was just the pointed out one to be tough on this season. I’m OK with that, because I want that critique, and I want to grow as an artist, and I want to go somewhere with my career. ”

Did you get to choose what to eat in the mansion?

PJ: “Sometimes we get to choose, and then sometimes they just bring you salad and
burritos and stuff. Healthy things. I’m not really a health kind of guy. I eat just cheeseburgers and pizzas and stuff.”

If you had stayed on Idol, what song were you planning to sing for Motown
week?

PJ:  “I can tell you what I was going to sing! It was going to be “Tracks of my Tears.”

Do you have any advice for hopefuls planning to try out for Idol?

PJ: “Go for it. Don’t hold back. When you walk in there, just be yourself. Don’t try
to be something that you’re not. Have faith that you can do this. If it’s
something that’s meant to be, it will happen. Or maybe it’s not the right time
if you don’t make it.”

Are you interested in an acting career?

PJ: “Sure. I want to do everything. I want to have an album. I want to become a
member of the Grand Ole Opry. I want to have my own clothing line. I don’t know
if everyone knew, but that was a custom shirt we had made when I performed
‘Eleanor Rigby’.  I want to dabble in everything, and put my Paul Jolley stamp
on everything.”

Can you tell more about your desire to be a clothes designer.

PJ: “It’s always been in my head, and it’s always something that I wanted to do. But
this is American Idol and this is where the spotlight is. Everyone in the industry at some point in time wants to stretch out. So why not go ahead and look at the full picture now and let people know about it.”

What would you say to your fans, the troupers?

PJ:  “I just want to say thank you so much. It’s a true blessing to have such loyal people that are there for me no matter what. It’s crazy how, after I’ve been kicked off…the support that I’ve received. It’s crazy. I’m still overwhelmed.”

How did you feel about Jimmy’s comment that you weren’t ready for prime time?

PJ: “To each his own. I think I am ready for it, or I wouldn’t be in the Top 10 of
the competition.  I feel he saved me for a reason, so I feel like he knows that
I have the talent, and he knows that I’m ready, or he wouldn’t have done that
for me.”

How do you see not winning as a positive for the future?

PJ: “I can move on, and I can start doing my own thing. I don’t have to stay glued
to doing a certain theme every week. I can still talk to my troupers and fans
and learn about what they want to hear from me.”

What do you think of the save? Do you feel the judges should have saved
him?

PJ: “Jimmy already saved me once. I knew they weren’t going to save me again. I’m
glad I got to sing, because it makes the last stamp of Paul Jolley. It doesn’t
just just say ‘OK Paul’s kicked off the show’ and then I’m done. I’d rather sing
something that means something to me and then leave on a good note.”

Is Jimmy Iovine good in the role of mentor?

PJ: “I think he’s good in the role that he’s in, because we get more of a one on one
with him. He knows what he’s talking about. I really highly respect his opinions.”

Talk about your thoughts on Nicki Minaj.

PJ:  “I’m thankful for the critiquing that she gave me. I wish it would have been more things that I could take, work on, or learn from. I still love her just the same, and I appreciate everything she has. She put me through the first round as well, so I’m very
thankful.”

How do you plan to prepare for the tour?

PJ: “To be honest, I don’t know.  I’d love to know myself so that I could prepare
and get my fans all built up in the different cities where we’re going to go.
Everybody just needs to know that I’m going to bring it on the tour, and they
better get ready for a good show.”

How did you spend the rest of his night last (Thursday) night?

PJ “I had to go and pack and leave my hotel and then go to another hotel.  I had to
get things ready and be up at 3 am to get ready for interviews all day long. My
mom and dad took a taxi and visited me for about 30 minutes, spent some time
with me and shared their love. That’s what I need the most. The love from
them.”

Which of the judges gave the best critiques?

PJ “I would say Keith Urban gave me the better feedback that I could probably learn from and take and use in my career.”

What was your favorite moment from the competition?

PJ: “The fans. I love them so much. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for
them. I just want to give a big thanks and shoutout to them.”

Was it frustrating to hear last week that you were too theatrical followed by Randy and Mariah telling you this week that you weren’t connecting to the song?

PJ: “To be honest. I didn’t try to do anything else different. I literally just went
out there–because the more and more I kept doing it, it kept getting more and
more comfortable and I could be myself. There’s a lot going on in that stage. We
have cameras we have to look for, the red dots we have to follow to make sure
we’re looking at the right camera. There’s a lot of things that a lot of viewers
don’t know about, that’s all new to all of us. It’s all a learning experience.”

So, the criticisms from the judges didn’t really get inside your head at
all?

PJ: ”No, it didn’t get in my head at all. The only thing that’s so hard, is following the
cameras and it’s a big stage. I performed in front of thousands of people
before, and it’s never been a problem. But when you just learned a song within a
few days, and you have to perform it–follow cameras– so many things you have to
worry about. It can play a toll on how your performance comes across. Nothing I
wouldn’t change about anything.”

Do you have any thoughts on why Lazaro did not end up in the bottom 3 as Jimmy predicted? Did it surprise you?

PJ: “Lazaro has a huge following. He has an amazing story. Everyone connects to it.
I give him good props for that, and I wish him the best of luck.”

Did the judges’ opinion that you shouldn’t sing country hold you back when you chose songs?

PJ: “Not at all. I know who I want to be, I’m not going to change that. The story
that I’ve been giving people is –when Elvis first started coming out, everybody
was kinda taken by storm ‘whoa what’s this going on!’ Once that caught on, now
he’s the king of rock and roll. Everybody loves him. He’s like a king pretty
much. I feel like once everyone catches on and sees where I want to go with this
career, and hear the original material, that I’m wanting to do–I feel like
there’s going to be a better understanding and people are going to love
it.”

Talk about your feeling on Thursday morning that you were going to be
eliminated.

PJ:, “I have a really close connection with God. Every morning I say my morning
prayer to start the day off. It’s a good start to the day, because I’m so
thankful for where I’m at in life. I just come to the realization–it was just a
moment I had–you know this is the day that I’m going to be leaving the show. And
I’m OK with it, because God –in his own way–spoke to me and said, ‘I have bigger
and better plans for you .This is just a stepping stone in life.’ I was so ready
for it. Everybody throughout the day did see it in my eyes–the people I talked
to about it–they said that they felt that and that I was OK no matter what.”

Did folks think you were kind of crazy for thinking you were going
home?

PJ: “No. I feel like the world now–they want people to be real and honest. I think
that’s going to mean more than anything to the viewers and the followers and
everyone who listens and watches the show. Look at some of these interviews that
we’re doing–they want me to be real. They don’t want me to be fake. I’m going to
tell you the truth about what I felt and what was going through my mind. ”

Would you ever cut a dance record, like Mariah suggested?

PJ: “I don’t think you really want to see me dance. But, we’ll see.”

What was it about Idol that appealed to you, that made you decide that was the show to audition for?

PJ:  ”I had auditioned for American Idol a few times before, and I never made it
past the cattle call. I got to the point where I was ‘well, maybe this TV show
is just not for me.’ And then this year, I opened up for an artist named Billy
Dean–an amazing guy, by the way. I was home the next week. One of the ladies
that got me to do the show, called me up and said, ‘You know, American Idol is
coming here next week, but it’s not released.  We want you to come and represent
out town and come audition.’ I said ‘I’m off work that day, it works out, I’ll
be there.’ At that time, I didn’t even know Keith Urban was going to be a judge, and he’s always been my Idol ever since I was a little kid. It’s funny how things just always play out.

Is there something you are looking forward to about the tour?

PJ: “Of course. I get to do more than one song, and have fun with it. There’s no
votes, there’s no 4 judges just staring me down. I cannot wait ’til I just have
my moment with the fans.”

Did you feel you were at a disadvantage coming into the competition with a country background? Or more comfortable since Keith was there?

PJ: “It’s not really a comfort thing. It’s just being myself. Everywhere I go, I just have
to be myself, no matter if it’s 500 people in a room, or just 4 judges in the
room. I didn’t feel like it was a disadvantage at all, It’s clear now, because,
you can see all the different genres that we have, in the competition still.”

Did you ever find out which judges voted to save him?

PJ: “No. Honestly, I don’t really want to know, because that’s their own personal
opinion. I don’t feel like they should have to let us know. Either way, I
respect their decision. I still love them all the same, whoever it
was.”

Because the season was declared the girls’ to lose, were the guys put at a
disadvantage?

PJ: “I don’t know….(laughs) Maybe. Maybe not. I think they’re all amazing. I wish everybody the best of luck. (laughs).

Would you have done anything differently looking back?

PJ: “I honestly would not change a single thing that I did on the show.  I chose my
song choices for a reason. If you listen, everything that I sang had a lyrical
meaning. I loved every bit of it. And everything that I spoke and the way I
spoke on there. I was truthful, and honest, and I was myself. No, I wouldn’t
change at thing. At all.”

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