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Chris: Entertainment Weekly Interview
« on: May 13, 2006, 03:34:24 AM »

A Little More Conversation
By Jessica Shaw

Chris Daughtry on his elimnination: ''It doesn't make sense logically.'' The ''Idol'' rocker, still stunned, tells Jessica Shaw about the judges' reaction, the letters sent to Fox, and what he would have sung next week.
Around 9:28 p.m. last night, you could almost hear the collective shrieks after the collective gasp around the country when rocker and far-and-away favorite Chris Daughtry got voted off American Idol. That is, if you weren't passed out from utter shock. How could this happen to the surest thing in Idol history? Though he's still reeling from the blow, Chris called EW to share his theory.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Chris, I am honestly flabbergasted. I don't know what to say.
CHRIS DAUGHTRY:   Yeah, I didn't expect to be doing this interview today. It's definitely unexpected. It's one of those things that it makes you stronger. You have to take it and run with it.

You're already at the ''It will make me stronger'' place? I'd still be in devastation mode.
Of course I'm devastated. But I'm trying to look at the bigger picture. I'm looking to see what the bigger picture is.

I thought the way Ryan delivered the news was pretty damn harsh, saying a lot of people thought you would win and then saying you were going home.
It was a little cold. It had nothing to do with him personally. It's a TV show. That is part of the show. It probably wouldn't have had the same effect if he'd been like, ''Chris, I'm sorry, buddy.'' It definitely got the reaction it deserved. Nobody expected it. I wasn't the pick to go home. I've been the pick to win. I'm not trying to sound overconfident. But everyone had been telling me...even the judges said it was going to be a Chris-and-Taylor finale. You try not to buy into that, but when you hear it so much you think, ''Maybe they're right. Maybe I do have a good shot.'' My hopes were up. I was starting to see there's an opportunity to win this thing. And then to have that happen was gut-wrenching.

I watched that moment back again and realized Ryan wouldn't have said the line about people thinking you would win unless you were going home, because it would have been unfair to the other contestants. When he said that, did you start to think maybe something bad was about to go down?
Yeah, when he said that I was like, Oh, boy. But I thought he was about to say, ''Chris, you can sit down.'' I was like, Man, I can't believe he just said that. It did not feel real at all.

Did you watch the episode back from last night? You looked completely stunned.
I haven't watched, but I've heard that all morning.

So what the heck happened?
You know, I had a good night, I felt. I think people may have gotten a little comfortable. People thought, ''This guy is definitely going to win, I don't need to vote for him tonight. Maybe someone else is going to take care of that.'' You can't expect somebody to do it for you. But you know, life goes on. I can't say I'm happy about it. It's definitely a very big disappointment for me. I'm disappointed in the way things turned out. But I'm going to keep on plugging.

On some level, I wonder if this is the best thing that could have happened to you. You'll never be ''American Idol Chris Daughtry'' or ''American Idol runner-up Chris Daughtry.'' You got all the publicity without the label.
Maybe. You have to think of it that way. You have to think there's a reason for everything. When a door closes another door opens. I think there are some big doors that will open.

I have to tell you, I think Tuesday night was one of your best nights. I really loved both of your songs and I was surprised by how lukewarm the reaction was from the judges.
I watched it back expecting to go, Maybe it wasn't that good. Honestly, it was one of my weeks I was happiest with. I was like, That was good, and I'm really happy with that. At least I went out on a good note. What do you do? Nothing prepares you for this. I'm asking you: What do you do?

I guess you just wait for the offers to pour in.
Yeah, I mean if I had a bad night and the judges bashed me, it would be different.

What didn't the judges hear?
I honestly feel in my heart Simon just didn't like the second song. I don't think it was me. It was the song.

Do you think maybe your voice was still strained from last week?
My voice was fine this week. Last week was definitely hard for me vocally. I was not 100 percent. After dress rehearsal it was perfect, but by the time I got to showtime it was just not 100 percent. This week it was vocally one of the easiest weeks I've had. The keys of the songs were perfect for me. The low parts? I loved it. My wife is the first one to criticize me and normally she agrees with Simon 100 percent, and last week she was like, ''You know that wasn't the right song for you to do.'' I was disagreeing with her, like husbands always do. But this week she was like, ''I don't understand.''

The crowd went crazy when you sang ''Love Me Tender'' last night. Simon said in an interview if you'd chosen to sing that on Tuesday night, you'd still be in the competition. Do you have any regrets?
I don't. I don't think that's the case. I think it has everything to do with people being like, ''Well, he's obviously safe.'' What do you do? That's only speculation. Maybe my fans didn't want me to win.

''It was a little cold,'' Chris says of the way Ryan announced his ouster
Maybe they didn't like your boxer-briefs answer.   What did you think of that?

It wasn't necessarily something I was wondering about, but I think it showed a funny side of you and that you weren't just a sunglasses-wearing rocker. Were people really clamoring to know?
You know what they wanted to know. My wife thought it was cute. I've been getting letters about it, saying ''Just clear it up for us.'' I don't read the threads. I don't have time and I don't want to get that stuff in my head. It gave me a chance to be comical. It gave me a chance to be real with the fans. I don't get a chance to talk that much, so in my opinion it was a good opportunity.

Paula started crying when Ryan said you were going home. Simon started nervously rubbing his lips. What did they say to you after the show?
Simon was like, ''You know, I don't understand what happened. It doesn't seem right. You're obviously very talented. You need to keep going with that. You're going to be okay.'' Randy said the same thing. They did not expect it. But I have to look at it like maybe it was the best thing for me. It's hard to see that now. Seriously, how do you take a big disappointment like that and smile about that? I'm not going to fake it and say I'm just happy. I'm grateful for what I was able to do, for the way the fans took to me and were so accepting of my style. But you heard the crowd's responses. How do you go from that to being voted off? It's a big mystery. It doesn't make sense logically. I have to realize God has a bigger plan.

God and 19 Entertainment, perhaps.
Yeah, and 19. Maybe they're working together. They're going to look out for my best interest. I don't feel like I've been thrown to the wolves at all. If anything, I've had the best audition for any record label I could possibly ask for. People like me struggling in bars every night, from North Carolina, we don't get that opportunity. The fact is, I was able to do that and reach millions of people on a national level.

What were you going to sing next week?
''Dream On,'' by Aerosmith. The Clive [Davis] song I would have found out today. I was really looking forward to that. I was looking forward to the private flight home to see my family and friends and have that big homecoming. A lot of plans changed in a matter of minutes last night. There are a lot of disappointed people and fans. There was floods of mail to Fox last night and today and everyone is like, ''What happened?'' It could be the fact that I made the biggest shock in American Idol history that works to my benefit.

Was it awkward last night at dinner? Did you just want to go home?
We didn't do the dinner. They don't do the dinner after top 5. I did get to hang out with Taylor and Elliott. They were just as bummed as I was. We were just talking about it. It was like therapy.

No Katharine? Is she sort of the odd one out because she's the girl?
We all get along, but I'm sure she felt like the odd person. The only girl in a group of guys? I can't imagine how that feels.

Did you live with both Taylor and Elliott?
Me and Taylor lived together. Elliott has his own place. We all hung out every night. I never went to college, but it was what I imagine college would be like, without all the bong parties. It was a cleaner version of college.

Was it hard not having your wife there to comfort you?
Honestly, I felt like maybe it was better I didn't have everybody there so I could just gather my thoughts. That would have probably made it so much harder on me. I can't wait to see them. I don't want to say I can't wait to get back to normal life, because I don't. I don't want to get back to normal life. I feel like this is my life. I do belong on stage.

Did you ever use the Andrea Bocelli method of singing while lying down?
You always want to take those things and use them, but we're so busy. We're always running around. Maybe I'll do that from now on. I'll probably get a vocal coach and start working on vocal techniques to season me for the tour.

Were you upset by how viewers reacted to you not crediting Live with your ''Walk the Line'' rendition?
It wasn't my doing. You say a lot of things in the [pretaped] interview, and when editing gets involved, things get cut out for time constraints. I did mention in my interview that I'm doing a different version from a band I totally respect. The lead singer of Live, Ed Kowalczyk, called me to say, ''Man, don't listen to that.'' We've been talking a lot since. It's really cool for me, because that's the band that inspired me to get into music. Ed Kowalczyk is my favorite singer. It was really cool to get that kind of respect.

Do you think a rock star, as opposed to a pop star, can win American Idol?
Absolutely. I think it could have happened this year. I really do. That's what the biggest shock is. Everyone is so floored because everyone expected me to win. People have to vote. You can't assume someone is safe just because of the comments. That's what it's about is America. It has nothing to do with the judges. They put in their two cents to maybe help you or make you realize something. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. It may sway the vote but it's 100 percent on the people who are voting.

Will you be voting for the remainder of the season?
It's a tough question. I'm going to have to think about that one. I'm going to have to see how it goes. Right now I'm so shocked.

Some people, like my editor Nicholas, for example, are so upset that they've vowed to boycott the show. What do you say to the Nicholases of America?
I've heard that a lot today. If they feel that strong, that's what they should do. Well, don't say that. Honestly, if people feel that strong about it, they're going to do what they want to do. Do I say to boycott the show? No, that's silly. There were a lot of people who said, ''If you don't win I'm not going to watch the show anymore.'' It's flattering. You know, thanks. I really appreciate you feeling so strong about me. It's really cool to know that's how people really felt. I just hope those are the same people who come out to buy my album.