Scott MacIntyre inspired "American Idol" fans with his story then wowed them with his piano playing and smooth vocals.
But his "Idol" journey was over after singing Survivor's "The Search Is Over" during "songs from the year you were born" night. While the judges went back and forth about whether to save the visually impaired 23-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, they ended up cutting him loose.
We caught up with Scott to talk about the judges' save, ditching the piano and what's next.
Q: What were you thinking when the judges were wrestling over possibly saving you?
A: I have to say, that was one of Seacrest's most agonizing pauses. He's getting a little too good at that. [Laughs.] I was actually very thrilled to know that it was a split decision between the four judges, and that was something very nice for me to walk away with. ... Even talking to Simon after the show, he told me — and I also sensed — that there was some inner turmoil in him in making that decision. ... I stand by my performance on Tuesday night. You never know what the judges are going to say, but I think if people watch the performance back, especially in the context of everything else that went on that night, it was a good, solid performance. It's a television show, I always remind myself, so you can expect the unexpected. If the chips would have fallen a little differently, I think I could have gone on for a number of more weeks.
Q: What did you think about only 30,000 votes separating you and Anoop?
A: I thought a couple more people should have voted! [Laughs.] In all seriousness, I thought it was just amazing, because at this stage of the game, everyone has won in their own right in this competition, and there's not much difference between finishing eighth and finishing third. ... It's really what you do with the opportunity you've been given, and I have this incredible platform now, and America knows a little bit about my story, and I'm going to do everything I can to make the transition from being known as Scott on "American Idol" to, in a couple years, being known as Scott MacIntyre the singer/songwriter.
Q: Were you surprised when Paula suggested you come out from behind your piano a few weeks ago?
A: Simon said it all that night. ... He replied, "I don't think you'd ever see Billy Joel come out from behind his piano." ... That's really where my heart is, when I'm at the keyboard, and it's not that it takes the place of my vocals. It's actually just another layer of expressivity that I can place beneath my vocals and carry my vocal with it. My decision to play the guitar this last week was more based on the fact that I wanted to shock America a little bit than Paula's comment about coming out from behind the piano. [The judges] tell you one thing one week, and they tell you the opposite the next week. I don't take what the judges say to heart. I actually stand by my performance. ... Some of the criticism is undue, but I respect the judges, and I'm so glad at least two of them were tempted to keep me on yesterday. I have no regrets leaving the show. I'm so happy I brought my shredder out, to go out in a blaze of glory the last night. [Laughs.] It's all good things from here.
Q: Why did you want to be on "American Idol"?
A: From the very beginning, I've felt like I have a story to share through my music and because of my life story and what I've overcome and that I've pursued music as my main passion, vocally and pianistically, and all of that combined. I felt like it would have been a shame not to share that with the world. And "Idol" has given me the platform I've been hoping for for many years. ... If I can get to this point out of almost 110,000 auditioners and end up in eighth place, I hope it encourages everyone to reach for their dreams.
Q: What kind of music do you see yourself putting out?
A: I have a huge, vast catalog of original music ... along the lines of John Mayer, Gavin DeGraw, Bruce Hornsby, Vanessa Carlson, a little bit of Mark Schultz. It's very pop-rock singer/songwriter-meets-adult contemporary. A lot of the music I write is more introspective and the lyrics are very meaningful, and I try to tell a story with my music always, and a lot of it has a harder edge and is a little bit more radio-friendly.
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