The "American Idol" judges' first trip to Puerto Rico seems to have paid off. That's where they found Jorge Nuñez, a bilingual singer who nabbed a spot in the finals (alongside Lil Rounds and Scott MacIntyre) by singing Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."
We talked to the 21-year-old from Cidra, Puerto Rico, about whether he plan to sing in Spanish this season, the difference between his hometown and Hollywood and much more.
Q: The judges told you to tone down your accent after your initial audition, but then last night, Simon said you should keep it. How did you feel about the conflicting advice?
A: What they wanted me to change was my accent when singing. I understood, because it's distracting. But if anything, [Simon's comment] just helped me be a little more relieved, because that's me. That's something that even if I try [to fix], I'm already 21 years old. That's not something I'm going to be able to change.
Q: Do you plan to sing anything in Spanish on the show?
A: There's a lot of songs that are really known here in the United States that have been translated to Spanish. For example, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" has a version in Spanish. And "Killing Me Softly" also has a version in Spanish. So songs like that, that are really popular, I would like to integrate a few verses in Spanish, so I could show how my voice sounds in Spanish. I think my voice sounds best when I'm singing in Spanish.
Q: What was it like coming from Puerto Rico to Hollywood?
A: People from Puerto Rico, we're just innocent people. We're too hospitable. We're very warm. It doesn't matter, whoever the person is, we're so happy to have them with us. Here, it's such a big city, which I'm not used to. The atmosphere is different. People are not as warm as you would think but still are cool.
Q: Do you feel any extra pressure to represent Puerto Rico?
A: Being the last Puerto Rican in the competition ... is there pressure? Yeah. But it's a lot of pride too. I feel happy to represent my country and showing the talent that we have to offer.
Q: How did you choose your song?
A: It actually was perfect for the show. "I just got here ... don't let [the sun] go down now." But I picked it because I love Elton John's music. He's such a good composer. his songs manage to combine all the elements into one. It's a beautiful song, and it always made me cry.
Q: The judge's critiques brought you to tears on Tuesday night. Are you always that emotional?
A: I'm an artist, so I would say, yes, I'm an emotional person. But the reason that I cried was because they told me that I was born to sing. That's my dream, so for someone to tell you that this is what you're meant to do, that's an amazing feeling. That's why I cried, but I'm not always crying.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most from the show?
A: I'm looking forward to mentors. I would love to have Britney Spears as a mentor!
Q: On Ryan Seacrest's radio show, Ryan read you a text message from Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. What was it like to hear from the superstars?
A: That's been amazing. That's the best thing that has ever happened to me throughout this whole journey. They're so famous here, so imagine how big they are in Puerto Rico. When they told me they were brought to tears by my performance, that was amazing.
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