- Did he struggle with “Every Little Thing” during rehearsals? When I sang with Gwen, that was on Saturday, and I just picked that song out on Friday afternoon and had changed my song. I originally was going to do “Give a Little Bit” by Supertramp, and the Goo Goo Dolls redid it recently. But I really wanted to challenge myself a little bit more than “Give a Little Bit.” I had never really looked at the music [for “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”] and had never really actually even listened to the song, so I never realized that it was going to be quite that much of a challenge. Then by the time I got to rehearsals on Monday, I had started to get the rhythm down a little bit, and actually I went back and listened to my performance from Tuesday probably about 10 or 15 times, and it wasn’t a great performance, but honestly it wasn’t as bad as the judges made it seem.
- About losing his momentum: You know, I never came into this wanting to win it. I come from an indie, alternative-rock background, and I think winning “American Idol” would hurt what I was really going for. And I think what kind of solidified it in my mind was when I was universally trashed for my arrangement of [Diana Ross’] “Endless Love” . I kind of thought, “This isn’t really the competition for me.” I actually almost dropped out that week. I went to the guy from 19 [Productions, the company behind “Idol”], and I was like, “If I drop out when I get to the top 10, can I still be on tour?” They were like, “No, you have to get voted out.”
- Chris make a bet with Phil: I just had this feeling in my heart that I was going home. Pretty much no one gets away from being trashed like I was on Tuesday night unscathed. I told Phil that I was going home and he was like, “There is no way you are going home before me.” And I said, “Dude, I bet you 50 bucks I’m going home.” And he took me up on it, and I won.
- Did he want to win? I mean, there is that competitive side of me that kind of kicks in. After that top 12 performance, I kind of took some time to decompress and talk to some people that I trusted, and then I came out and I was like, “I want to do it on my own terms, and if that means that I get cut early, then that means I get cut early.” With “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, ” it definitely was a riskier choice, but I feel like one of the things that was a little frustrating was that if you look through the six songs I did on the show, all six songs were risks in one way or another. I felt like that was ignored, and really the judges never commented on my voice and that was frustrating for me.
- Will Chris go back to his band, Half Past Forever? Yeah, when I get back to South Carolina. They put out a CD before I tried out, and we were getting record-label interest before “American Idol, ” so doors should open up for us.
- Is it possible to compete on “Idol” and joke about it at the same time? I kind of wonder that myself. … It’s funny because I love the show but at the same time there are some cheesy aspects that I poked fun at. And there are people that love the show so much that anything that is bad said about the show or especially if you say something bad about Simon … there are people that will literally write you hate mail. People telling me they’d hope I would die because I told Simon I didn’t sound like Teletubbies. So it kind of freaked me out, because I was like, “Wow, people take ‘American Idol’ very, very seriously.” I would hope people would realize that me joking around about the show is very tongue-in-cheek because I can’t be too upset with “American Idol” if they are making me famous.
- About Sanjaya: I think that people underestimate Sanjaya. I think Sanjaya is actually a very good vocalist. I mean, if you go to AmericanIdol.com and you download his songs or even just listen to a preview, he has a good voice. I think he is just.
From Entertainment Weekly
- The ET interviewer did not notice Chris was out of time with the band: I didn’t notice it either! You know what’s funny? One of the guys backstage is a drummer and he was like, ”Dude, the judges don’t know what they’re talking about.”
- Why he pretended to know he messed up: I had struggled with that song the whole time. Even in the small bit you saw with Gwen [Stefani], you saw I was struggling with the rhythm. I had chosen ”Give a Little Bit” and gone a day and a half with the song but it was one of those things that was so safe. I didn’t want to do safe. Phil was originally doing ”Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” but then he ended up going with ”Every Breath You Take.” Anyway, I did not realize it’s a master’s class in rhythm. [Bandleader] Ricky Miner gave me this thing called Dr. Beat [a metronome] to take home with me and I worked my tail off on that song. When it came to Tuesday for the performance for some reason it wasn’t clicking with the band so when I performed it, it was like I wasn’t sure. Then there was this one place in the verse I got a little bit off because I had forgotten the next line so I jumped in and caught up with myself. If I was out of rhythm it was really close.
- Has he rewatched the performance? I went back and watched it like 15 times on YouTube and I was like, ”I really don’t think it was off.” But I had packed my bags Wednesday morning because I know enough about the show to know that you don’t get horrible comments like that and get to stay.
- Was Chris shocked when he was sent home?
I knew Phil wasn’t going home because he did really well. He and I are really close and we’re roommates now. And Haley has had two or three weeks where she’s been on the rise because of her hot pants. With her rising and because of my last few weeks, I knew I was falling, so I was about 99.5 percent sure I was going home.
- About the Ryan fan question. Did he get the question ahead of time or was it a spur-of-the-moment response? No, we got the question ahead of time. I came up with something funny but then people took it as being sarcastic. I was like, ”I’m just being silly!” When did America stop having a sense of humor? But you know the thing that’s great is I’m number 10 on this show. It’s given me and my band much more exposure than I ever could have imagined without a major-label deal. Yeah, there are people I would have liked to have made it further than, but if I’m smart and make the right choices I won’t ever have to work a real job. I’ll just be able to do what I love doing.
- What he planned to sing during Tony Bennett week?
I was gonna sing, ”Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On.” I was really excited. I thought that might be my comeback.
- Chris’s take on the comment that a Bob Jones University spokesman made about being disappointed with the musical direction you went in? I’m trying to think of how to put this in a way that’s nice… It’s a sect of Christianity that puts their heads in the sand and doesn’t want to engage the world around them. I’ve talked about it on the show, that I was not able to listen to pop music growing up. To them, it’s literally a sin for me to sing pop or rock music. I almost feel sorry for them because life is so much bigger than what they’re seeing but at the same time I can respect their beliefs and say, ”God bless you.”
- About his Hollywood week auditions with Blake and Rudy, of ”How Deep is Your Love?” Was it a high point? That was not as much me as it was me putting myself with Blake and Rudy. Rudy and I met in Memphis where I auditioned. We got to be friends through email and Rudy knew Blake so he told Blake about me and Blake and I hung out every day during Hollywood. Blake and I are very, very tight.
- About the minors, Sanjaya and Jordin ‘ hanging out with all of you? You have to learn how to talk around them. Blake and Chris definitely enjoy their cuss words so it’s kind of one of those things where it’s like, ”Earmuffs!” I think Jordin especially is incredibly mature for her age. Sanjaya is a good kid. I think he gets a bum rap. If you listen to his recordings on the American Idol website his voice sounds good. When I was 17 years old I had no idea how to sing on stage either.
- About Sanjaya’s mohawk: The first time I saw him with the hair we were upstairs in the green room. I was typing on my computer and I looked up and just did a double take. I just stared at him like, ”What in the world did he do to get his hair to do that?” The security guard was cracking up because of the look on my face. I think it takes cojones to do a hairstyle like that.
- Chris lost weight on Idol, didn’t you: I lost like 34 pounds. Chris Richardson was helping me out. If I was running on the treadmill he’d yell at me, ”Run faster!” I’m really hoping to get a trainer now and work out every day. I really want to show up to the finale looking completely different. The heaviest I got was 300. Back when I was in college I weighed 190 pounds. I’d love to get down to 190 again.