May 7, 2010
Posted: 03:16 PM ET
Five become four after the season’s youngest finalist, 17-year-old Aaron Kelly, sang his swan song during Sinatra week.
His elimination surprised many in the blogosphere, considering the rather scathing critiques of Casey James’ performance. Yet, it was Aaron and Big Mike who found themselves on the chopping block.
But fear not for Aaron - he tells us that he’s ready to tour, write some songs and record an album.
What do you think of Aaron’s elimination? Read our interview with him and then sound off below!
LKL Blog: You made it to the top 5 – tell me how the American Idol experience turned out for you.
Aaron Kelly: The American Idol experience for me was – I’ve learned so much throughout it. Even the farther I got, you can see a change in me. I grew in confidence and I was going out and having a lot of fun out on that stage and getting a lot more comfortable with it.
LKL Blog: You say you’ve grown, I know in the beginning, some of the judges’ comments to you were that your choices, you arrangements, you presence was a little old. That they were hoping you’d be a little younger. Do you feel like you grew up a little bit on that show?
Aaron: A little bit. The thing is, when I went into the show, I didn’t really change who I was. The people who are voting for you are voting for the person they saw in the beginning. So I figured if I changed all of that, they probably wouldn’t like me as much. So I wanted to stay the same person I was from the beginning. But I definitely got a year older, in that sense of growing up [Aaron celebrated his 17th birthday on the show]. I didn’t change so much as I grew confident and got way more comfortable up there.
LKL Blog: It’s got to be hard when you’re listening to the judges, you’re listening to the producers, you’re taking advice – but you’re a performer and trying to stay true to yourself. How do you balance what people are telling you versus what you think you should be doing?
Aaron: Well, you know you just have to listen to yourself and take what they’re saying and kind of take bits and pieces. You don’t want to take everything they are saying. But you want to take bits and pieces and add it into what you’re doing without changing who you are. That’s what I did. I know that I had a lot of people wanting me to change it up a lot. But if I changed it up a lot, it would mean changing me. It would be changing everything pretty much about me.
When I was picking songs, I listened to them all and found the ones that I thought could fit me best. Also songs that I could make sound a little country for me. Because I think of myself as a country artist. And I wanted to find songs that would sound good with a country spin on it.
LKL Blog: As the weeks go on and fewer contestants remain, it must be tough to say good-bye. You probably get closer as week goes on?
Aaron: It’s very, very tough. We all get close to each other. And especially the further into the competition you go, everybody is so close. And we’ve been together so long. I think it’s been what, ten weeks? That’s a long time to be together. And it’s everyday. The contestants are your best friends. And they are also here to help you. The judges and the mentors, they are also here to help you. But if we had a question, the contestants would tell you honestly. So it was great to have them there.
LKL Blog: Big Mike and you – you sort of hugged it out onstage after Ryan announced your elimination. What did he whisper in your ear?
Aaron: Big Mike was just saying, “You’re all right, man. Top five, that’s a good place to go. You’re going to do good things after the show,” he said.
LKL Blog: What are your plans after the show?
Aaron: Well, we have tour plans. Also hopefully I’ll get to do an album. I’ll have some songs on there that I wrote, which I’m excited about. A lot of people didn’t know that I write songs. So that will be cool, a new thing that America didn’t know about me, that they’ll get to hear.
LKL Blog: You’re still in school – were you doing school work while you were on Idol?
Aaron: Yes, we had a teacher and she was great. She was a lot of fun. So I had someone there to help me if I had questions, she would help me out with them.
LKL Blog: Was it hard to balance homework while preparing a performance in front of 24 million eyeballs?
Aaron: Not at all. The thing is, having school there kind of took my mind off things. I wasn’t worrying about what the judges were going to say. Or how I was going to do that night. I wasn’t over thinking anything. I was worried about my school work and getting everything done. So it took my mind off things.
LKL Blog: One last question, what was your favorite Idol moment?
Aaron: My favorite Idol moment was I got to meet Rascal Flatts. I completely idolize them. I’m a huge, huge fan. They pretty much inspired me to start with music. I’ve been a fan of them ever since their very first single. So getting to meet them and take a picture with them was a highlight for me.
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