While Tyler Grady made a lasting impression with his retro "American Idol" audition in Boston, he virtually went missing from the stage during Hollywood Week.
That disappearing act might have marked the end for the 20-year-old from Nazareth, Pennsylvania — who was kicked off "Idol" on Thursday along with Ashley Rodriguez, Janell Wheeler and Joe Muñoz. Before he reprised his performance of the Guess Who's "American Woman," he had some choice words for the judges: "I like all the judges, and I've really had a great time with them, but I feel like I didn't really get much constructive criticism during Hollywood Week, and what they told me was a little too late."
When we caught up with him Friday (February 26), Grady defended those controversial comments and his '70s-rocker style.
Q: A lot of "Idol" watchers thought you were out of line to call out the judges during the results show. Do you regret those comments?
A: I've seen that I'm getting some heat in the media about my comment before the show ended, and I just wanted to let everyone know that I really meant no disrespect by that. When I watched the show back on Wednesday, I felt that I was too caught up in the moment to stand up for myself, whereas contestants are absolutely encouraged to express themselves when they're being critiqued, I felt like I was kind of shocked with the criticism, and I just didn't get the chance to express my feelings, so when I said that, I was just expressing myself. I meant no disrespect. And I'm not bitter at the judges or anything like that. If I would've made it through to another week, it would've been due to a fanbase that appreciated what I was doing, so I probably would've just stuck to my guns and performed in the same style I've been performing in. I may have chosen a more recent rock song, but you wouldn't have seen me coming out in baggy jeans and wearing a headset microphone. I wouldn't have been changing my performance style at all.
Q: So you wouldn't have take the judges' words to heart?
A: I definitely respect the judges, and I think that they're very qualified to be critiquing the contestants on the show, but at the same time, when you are building a fanbase and your fans are supporting you, they're supporting you because of what you're doing, so you can't turn on your fans. You can't change up what you're doing to the point where you irritate your fans. If they're supporting you, you need to give them what they want and support them back.
Q: How would you be able to tell what your fans want while you're in the bubble of the show?
A: Essentially, if I would've gotten through another week, I think it would've been fair to assume that my fans appreciated my style of performance, because I've been consistent from the Boston audition to now. And if you see my band play ever, that's exactly the style of performance I give every time. In response to Ellen's critique of my lack of honesty and charisma onstage, I do absolutely respect her as an entertainer and as a critic, but I feel like she kind of misrepresented me there.
Q: Do you think your lack of screen time during Hollywood Week hurt you?
A: I don't want to make excuses. I know that the media is already claiming I'm making excuses, as far as blaming the judges for what happened on the show, and I don't blame the judges at all. When I made that comment, I was simply expressing my feelings at the time. As a contestant on that show, you need to stand up for yourself and go out with some dignity, but I really don't make any excuses for what happened. I mean, Kelly Clarkson and Kris Allen, both winners of "American Idol" in the past, didn't have that much airtime going into the live show, so I wouldn't say that that would've affected the results.
Q: Do you think your stick-by-my-guns attitude is what got you eliminated?
A: I can't explain to you why I was eliminated. Well, actually, I can explain to you why I was eliminated: I didn't get enough votes. I got one of the least number of votes out of the 12 guys; that's why I got eliminated. As a performer, you have to stick to your guns. You have to be honest and true to yourself. If you're gonna change your style ... and be inconsistent, you won't be able to build a solid fanbase, because people won't be able to catch on to you. And once you build a fanbase, you need to feed them what they appreciate about you. You can't constantly change yourself, or you're not really respecting your fans.
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