Anoop Desai Calls 'American Idol' Top-13 Twist 'A Genuine Shock'

'It was the difference between having all your dreams dashed and then ... they're alive again,' he says.

A spot in the "American Idol" finals looked like it was Anoop Desai's to lose in the first live-performance week, but when the 21-year-old student came out with a sleepy performance of Monica's "Angel of Mine," he didn't make the cut.

The judges saw something in the affable singer and brought him back as a wild card, along with Megan Joy Corkrey, Matt Giraud and Jasmine Murray. So what's next for Anoop Dogg? We talked with the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, singer about repeating [artist id="3624"]Bobby Brown[/artist], [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West's[/artist] "Idol" debut and more.

Q: What was it like to be the last person picked after thinking you didn't make it?

A: It was the pits, man. It was the difference between having all your dreams dashed and then three seconds later, they're alive again. It was a shock, it was a genuine shock for me. I'm just glad I'm still here.

Q: Were you worried about performing "My Prerogative" again after singing it during Hollywood Week?

A: That song in particular has become sort of like an anthem for me since Hollywood Week. And I thought it was especially appropriate for the wild-card round, just to go out there and say, "Listen, this is who I am. I'm going to go out and do what I do and have fun. It's my prerogative." So, that's the reason I chose it. I knew I had done it in the past, obviously. But like the judges said, I think I did a better job of it this time.

Q: What have you thought of the judges' criticism this season?

A: They're four very experienced voices in the industry, so I'm grateful for that. We don't really have much contact with them outside the show. But I do feel like they say everything for a reason, especially Simon. I think that he says things to elicit a reaction. So if something wasn't good enough, he's going to tell you, because he wants you to do better. He's not a mean person at all.

Q: You've said before that you're a Kanye West fan, so are you excited he'll be on the show next week?

A: I found out from Ryan [Seacrest] this morning when I was on his [radio] show. Hopefully I'll get to meet him and we can talk about some collaborations in the future.

Q: You mentioned the anniversary of University of North Carolina student Eve Carson's death on Thursday's show. Why was that important to you?

A: Every time I go out onstage, I go out to make her proud. When we graduated in May, they passed out these big buttons that just say "Eve" in Carolina-blue letters, and the buttons are black. And I carry that in my pocket every time I go onstage or go onto a results show to remind myself that I'm doing it for her.

Q: Who would be your dream guest mentor on the show?

A: If Stevie Wonder came back, I would faint, because I think he's the greatest musical mind that I've ever heard. That would be the ultimate.

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