Scott MacIntyre's story has touched many "American Idol" viewers, but his talent has been just as inspirational.
The visually impaired 23-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, sang Bruce Hornsby's "Mandolin Rain" to earn a spot in this season's top 12, alongside Lil Rounds and Jorge Nuñez. We caught up with the singer/songwriter to talk about his awkward high-five with Ryan Seacrest, why he can't wait to get back behind a piano and more.
Q: You and Ryan re-enacted your high-five incident from the audition round on Tuesday's performance show. Does that mean he's off the hook?
A: I'm the last person that would ever be offended by that, and I thought it was so funny, because it's happened to me my whole life. People try to wave to me and I don't see it, or they try to high-five me. I had one guy try to give me a fist pound one time back in AZ, and he tried for, like, five minutes. It was a long time before I figured out what he was doing. I love Ryan. He's an awesome guy. He actually did the right thing, and he grabbed my hand and he did it again. I thought everyone would be wondering about it, so I had to return the favor.
Q: The judges have consistently said how excited they are to see you back behind a piano. How important is that to you, as an artist?
A: That is the entire reason I'm here, and I've said that from the very beginning. ... My heart in doing this and my reason, musically, for coming to the audition, other than to share my story and touch people through music and hopefully inspire everyone who watches, I can do that best when I'm singing from a piano. It's not that it's a substitute or takes away from my vocal presentation, because you really hurt yourself if you end up hiding behind an instrument on this show, but it's another layer of how I can exteriorize my emotions and just everything I'm feeling. I can really emote when I'm sitting at the piano, because my fingers just do their own thing, and then I'm telling the story, and it's where I write music. It's where all my magical moments happen, musically. Next week, I'm so excited to be able to start showing America bits and pieces of who I really am. Because a few clips have been seen of me at a keyboard during Hollywood Week, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more I want to share. It means everything to me to be in the top 12, but especially to be coming back, hopefully with a grand piano.
Q: How did you feel about Simon criticizing the lyrics of the song you chose?
A: I didn't hear what he was saying at first, and I actually had an answer for that. It was probably good I didn't interrupt him anyways, because he went on to say something very positive. The lyrics of the Bruce Hornsby song, first of all, they are great lyrics, and Simon needs to get with it. [Laughs.] Bruce Hornsby's amazing, and I love Simon to death, but I chose that song because it's the only song I know that talks about listening. You know, "Listen to the mandolin rain." Listening to people's hearts break, listening to the tears roll. Listening is such a big part of my world, I thought it was the perfect song to start off this whole live venture.
Q: On the results show, fellow semifinalist Kendall Beard helped you stand up when your name was called. Have all the contestants been helping you out?
A: Absolutely. "Idol" has just been great about accommodating me as well. Where there have been opportunities for other contestants to step in, even though we're in this competition, I've been just so thankful for their friendship, and they've been really good about stepping in and helping out.
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