Elliott Yamin interview

Elliott Yamin’s interview from MTV.comA picture named Top3ResultsElliottd.jpeg

  • About his emotional boot, “I’m emotional anyways; it kind of runs in my family’s blood. And maybe because I’m an underdog. I was the kid who came from nowhere. They know I’ve beaten a few odds here and there, and they can relate to that. It’s real. … And the fact that I was able to realize my talent and validate my artistry at the same time, it doesn’t get any better than that. And I think people respect that.”
  • About Simon’s comment that he was potentially the best male vocalist Idol ever had, “I was like, “Wow, I can’t believe he actually said something that awesome to me.” At the same time, a lot of people around the country, media and friends and family, failed to realize he did use that word: potential. I’m the kind of guy who’s always thinking there’s room to grow and get better, so I loved the fact that he used the word potential. That’s a good thing. I’m used to being labeled the kid with a lot of potential, and I feel like I’m reaching for that every day that I live, and I’m getting closer to it.”
  • Why Paula was upset, “I think she just loves my voice and likes me as a person. She’s just a sweetheart, and she’s got a big heart like I do, which is probably why we can relate. And we’re both Jewish too. Us Jews, we kind of have a bond at birth.”
  • About Simon’s “kiss off” after his third song Tuesday night, “He’s sounded like he’s saying goodbye numerous times, so I’ve grown quite accustomed to that. No, Simon knows what he’s talking about and what America wants. The song I chose was a questionable choice to many. People told me off-camera I might want to reconsider my choice because it wasn’t a well-known song, but I love Donny Hathaway. … The bottom line is, it was my choice and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
  • Did he deliberately choose obscure songs to sing? “I did it because I can relate to being a person coming from relative obscurity myself and having overnight success from the show. I know it’s good to sing songs people know and that are modern and that people can relate to and are familiar with, but at the same time, that’s what deterred me from picking those types of songs. I wanted to give people a taste of something different, help them fall in love with different songs. And they’re just songs I enjoy singing.”
  • About his new “look”, “I love it. All I did was let my hair grow out, and this is actually the longest my hair has ever been.”
  • About having his mom with him in LA, “It made a huge difference. It meant the world to me. When I came out for the Hollywood round, she was quite ill. The last vision I had was saying goodbye to her in the ICU, and she wasn’t even coherent. She never knew I was leaving to start this incredible journey. She’s been as big an inspiration to me as anyone. … She’s such a trooper. It’s great to see her like a kid again. She hasn’t been this way in, like, three years, and I think this experience has helped her confidence. She’s taking better care of herself, and now she has all these great incentives to stay healthy.”
  • Is he happy? “Absolutely. Why not? What’s there to be upset about? This is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, for myself and my family. I’ve had the time of my life. Why not let it show?”
  • About Taylor Hicks, “It’s funny. Taylor’s a really high-strung dude. He’s got a lot of energy and passion. He doesn’t seem to relax when he performs, to me. [Yamin laughs.] No, he’s been doing what he’s done his whole life, which is entertain people. It’s easy for him; he’s got a lot of experience. Same thing with Kat. Me, I definitely was more nervous. I just don’t have that kind of experience. I’ve learned a lot from them, as far as how to be onstage and how to present my performance. I’m still learning, but they’ve been great models for that aspect. I have nothing but the utmost respect for both of them. I’m great friends with Taylor. We’re going to be friends for life.”
  • About Katharine McPhee, “We’re all perfectionists. She’s definitely very mechanical, and that’s a good thing. I’ve taken something away from that too. She just has a godly gift. She’s going to go so far.”

From Entertainment WeeklyA picture named ElliottTop3ResultsE.jpeg

  • Does he regret choosing “I Believe to My Soul” as his song choice? “No, I don’t. I knew all along people didn’t like it. People with the show didn’t like it because it wasn’t that popular of a song. Everyone from the executive producers to Clive Davis told me I should really consider the song choice I made and just understand it’s not a modern song… but that’s why it was my choice. It’s a fun song to sing. Anytime I get to sing a Donny Hathaway song, I’m happy. The other two songs the judges and Clive Davis chose for me weren’t necessarily songs I would have chosen for myself, but I had to do what had to be done. I did it to the best of my ability. I have no regrets about that. I’m more proud than anything that I followed through with it and made it this far. That I followed through with anything in my life.”
  • About his “follow-through” issues, “I’m really ADD-ish. I start one thing and then I start another thing. The first thing I start will never get done or it gets put to the side until it metastasizes into a huge ball of nothingness. I was never as productive as I could have been. I’ve just grown up so much. I’m where I’m supposed to be. Yesterday I felt vindicated. I felt the opposite of bitter, upset, and disappointed. There were all these preconceived notions from people, how they thought I must have been feeling, but I’m just honored. It was a great way to go and a great way to celebrate. Yesterday was just a very celebratory kind of thing. There’s no hard feelings.”
  • Did he have an inkling he was heading home? “Yeah, I did. My intuition told me so. Sometimes you get those vibes, and I had that. It’s been a running joke all season long; I’m always the one saying, ”I’ll give you a holler as soon as I get home.” You never know who’s going to vote and how many votes are going to come in. All you can do is hope for the best. I’m always loose. The first few weeks, when we were on the smaller stage, were kind of nerve-wracking. But once we got to the big stage and the Wednesday results show, I learned to be a lot more relaxed. You can’t change the results or dwell on anything. At that time it’s out of your hands. Whatever happens happens — I kind of had that feeling, and it helped me make peace with everything and prepare for the emotions I would go through.”
  • About Simon Cowell, “He definitely respects my talent and respects me as a person. I love Simon, man. The conversations we’ve had off camera and behind the scenes have been very positive. He’s a great guy. I don’t think people get to see that, because he has this shtick for the show of being brutally honest. But as up-and-coming new artists, we need to be told the truth. I’ve always been appreciative of that. There’s always going to be some underlying advice somewhere in there.”
  • On Chris Daughtry and Taylor Hicks as friends, “Me, Chris, and Taylor got real close. We’ve been the only three guys for a while, so we got to know each other really well. We all formed these great relationships that will last a lifetime. We’re in our own fraternity. The funny thing about Chris is before this he never lived on his own. He dated his wife right after high school and moved in with her and never really had that roommate experience. He was like a little kid. The rest of us had been on our own, so we helped him out with that.”
  • What kind of album he’d like to make, ” I do. I want to make an R&B album. I want to do something real soulful and R&B-ish. I think I’ve shown on the show that I do have versatility and I can sing any kind of music. And I would love to explore different genres.”
  • About his teeth, “That’s something I’m seriously considering. It has to be the right time and the right place for it. The calls have been pouring in from dentists from all over the country. On the red carpet at the top-12 party, somebody asked me something like, ”If I would change one thing about my appearance what would it be?” And I think I said something like, ”I’d like to have a nicer smile.” They published it, and next thing you know, I’m getting calls right and left, the show is fielding calls, my mother is fielding calls… It’s cool. All these people want to help me out for free. And from what I understand, dental work is expensive.”
  • On being an inspiration, “So many people I’ve come into contact with have told me that I’ve been an inspiration. They say, ”You really touched our lives — our daughter is diabetic, ” or ”He’s having surgery on his ear.” It’s an awesome feeling to be able to do what I love to do and be an inspiration to others. I plan on doing a whole lot of work with different diabetes foundations. I hope to do speaking engagements. There’s this American Diabetes Association camp they run for kids in Pittsburgh. We just so happen to be in town on our tour this summer, so I’m trying to coordinate visiting those kids. There are so many things I can do with my voice now, and I’m so grateful for the opportunities.”

The reporter, who is Jewish like Elliott, mentions that Yamin means right in Hebrew.  Elliott’s real name, Ephraim, is the name of one of the tribes of Israel.

Very cool, very grounded dude.  I wonder about his insistence on sticking to “I Believe to My Soul” as his song choice, when EVERYBODY was telling him it wasn’t a good pick.  As far as strategy for the show, those around him were correct.  Had he stopped playing the game strategically at that point, or did he believe the producers were wrong…