Eliminated in 4th place, MacKenzie Bourg talked frankly about his American Idol experience in a satellite phone interview with reporters on Friday. The singer brought in several songs during Rock Week, until he settled on Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.” He dishes on some of the confusing judges comments he received that week.
Also, MacKenzie reveals his original song “Roses” will be released as a single. It would have been his coronation song if he made the Top 3. He also reveals his Judges Pick song and next week’s reprise.
What advice was he given throughout the competition that he’s taken to heart? My best moments on the show, whether it be “Hallelujah,” “Billie Jean,” “Roses,” or even my audition–it was always moments where I was fully myself–I kinda did what I do. Me and a guitar up there. I’m taking that moving forward–knowing that it really resonates with people–being able to grab an audience with just a guitar.
What’s next for MacKenzie? Will he be touring? There’s definitely a chance I’ll be touring. That’s the plan, and to release “Roses,” the song I wrote and played on the show…to be the single. It’s a moving ball right now trying to get that out and ready as soon as possible.
How does the love from outside his Louisiana home translate to his future? The reason why I wasn’t as bummed as people would have hoped–I get on twitter and instagram and all these other things. There are so many people! I don’t even know these people and they are sending me nothing but love and support. Those people want me to succeed just as much as the people at home. I figured, however the competition does shape out, I would be alright wherever I ended up.
Was he surprised to be eliminated considering he’s never landed in the bottom before? Dalton seemed particularly shocked that he was safe. I was 98% sure that I was going to go home this week. After the classic rock week (last week) the only person that really got any kind of mixed reviews was me. The judges comments sway the votes a good bit. I knew right after the show–I was pretty bummed then. I had a week to get over it and accept it and move past everything to start real life in my real career.
How did he feel about the two songs that he didn’t sing last night? Is he disappointed he didn’t get to sing them? Scott’s Pick was Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac and that’s the one I was really bummed to not be able to do. I had a pretty cool arrangement for it. It really sat well on my voice. The Judges Pick was “Take Your Time” by Sam Hunt. I wasn’t exactly into that song (laughs) too much. But I had done a version of it and it really came out alright. I wasn’t overly bummed about that one. But I would have loved to get the feedback on “Rhiannon.”
Could he explain further about what he meant last night when he said “I already won”? As cliché–I know a lot of people say it–but I actually meant that. There are so many people. Last night I posted a dumb tweet like I always do and said–“tweet me if you’re in this for life with me.” I think it’s close to 7,000 retweets right now. It’s nothing to shake your head to!
Was there a piece of advice from one of the judges that changed everything for him? When Kelly Clarkson was a mentor. She said to me that it was really awesome that I was one of the people that [knew who I was as an] artist. I know what I want to do. I just have to do it. Taking that in made me more confident in who I am as an artist. Knowing that someone like her and the three judges recognize and appreciate me as an artist and [think] that I’m on the right track.
On his song choices last week. Was the Rock Pick “I Want You to Want Me” his first choice? No it wasn’t. It was probably my fifth choice.
How did he feel about singing it? I originally came in with “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi and I had a cool arrangement for it–kind of like a stripped down acoustic. Then, I came in again with “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” Looking back I probably just should have done that even though it wasn’t something super special. Scott suggested “I Want You to Want Me” and the arrangement, I thought was pretty good. I spoke with the producer that does our iTunes tracks. He has produced the last two Cheap Trick albums. He said to me when I was recording “Hallelujah” that Cheap Trick loved it and they actually told him that my version was better than theirs. I do think that maybe if the judges weren’t so harsh on the arrangement, things might have been different. I’m happy with where I’m at and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Before he performed, he said last week was a tough week. Could he elaborate? I felt –I don’t know the right word–picked on by the judges for that Rock Pick. They all kind of went at something that I couldn’t necessarily completely control. It kind of bummed me out knowing that it wasn’t really my voice that was anything wrong. It was the arrangement with the band and all that stuff.
If he had his choice of a dream artist to sing a duet with at the finale next week, who would it be and why? Just thinking of it vocally–Taylor Swift would probably sound really good singing with me. I know she did a song with Ed Sheeran that was really awesome. That would be a cool song I think I could do with her.
Why did he decide to dedicate “Hallelujah” to his hometown? Hallelujah is one of the first songs I ever learned. When I first started playing my first shows. I played it just because I only knew four or five songs. Even though it wasn’t the craziest thing in the world, it was a reminder to me of how far I’ve come. I had a hunch that I was going to go home last night. I had a really good feeling. I wanted to go out with something that left a good taste in people’s mouth about me and encapsulated everything that I’m about. I think I did that and left a good mark on people.
What inspires him about “Hallelujah?” How does he channel his emotions when he’s singing it? To me the song was more than just the lyrics. It’s a reminder of how far I’ve come. I sang it so passionately because I remember five, six years ago when I first learned that song, how bad I was at the song, and how I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d be on the biggest stage in the world performing that.
What is his favorite love song? I like the song that I wrote, “Roses.” I think it’s a pretty cool love song .
When he is performing love songs, how does he channel that? The easiest way to sing love songs on the show is to stare at Jlo in the eyes. It works sometimes whenever she realizes (laughs). She commented on it a few times this year.
On hearing his song “Roses” played with his goodbye package last night The only thing that I really was bummed about was that my coronation song was going to be “Roses.” It was going to be the first time an original song would have been [the coronation song. It’s all going to work out, I think, because I’m going to get to release “Roses” as my single. That’s all being worked out right now.
How overcome with emotion was he during the visit to the Children’s hospital where nearly died? The hospital, where I was at in the ICU, it’s being completely re-done. It added to the spookiness of it all. The whole rest of the hall was empty. They re-created the exact room I was in. I didn’t really know what to expect, then I walked in and realized it. It was a lot to handle. It definitely was something very powerful and moving for me to do.
On his experience on The Voice vs his experience on American Idol I think American Idol has done me so many favors by not trying to change me, by letting me be myself. I feel like me with just a guitar. going up there and singing as if I were in my room, has really resonated with so many millions of people in the country. I’m thankful everyday they’ve given me the opportunity to do that and even to perform a song that I wrote, twice, on national TV–I couldn’t have asked for a better time on the show.
Is he sad about there being no summer tour this year? The tour would have been fun, but it also takes away from taking that first step to being an artist. It would take away from putting an album together and setting up a solo tour thing. I think a lot of the times, people get so caught up in the Idol tour that there’s not a lot of time to put together something meaningful music wise.
Did he find the judges’ criticism kind of confusing? For instance, when Harry criticized “Titanium” by saying that he knew better than to focus on the high notes of the song. That confused the crap out of me too. That week was so interesting to me. I didn’t have any truly negative comments before that week. Harry knows it’s a TV show too. It was interesting that he made such a big deal out of that, knowing we do those digital packages and they are edited. We don’t edit them. Someone else does. Jlo took up for me as well as Keith. It was weird that he downgraded what I was doing. To me I was really stretching myself and really pushing myself. It is what it is and I’m still happy to be where I’m at today.
There were sparks flying between him and Lauren Alaina earlier this season, she was even gushing again in his video package last night. Did he reciprocate those feelings at all for her? She’s been awesome. I know she has a boyfriend–definitely kept it just friendly. She’ been so supportive of me. She sends me encouraging texts, congratulating me. She’s been a great mentor, not just musically, in the encouragement department too.
Other than “Roses” as his coronation song, were there any other songs he had planned if he had made it through to next week? I was going to do “Roses” as the coronation, and then “Billie Jean” as my repeat performance.
MacKenzie will perform on Live with Kelly and Micheal Monday April 4th.