John Park Got Caught Up With ‘Nerves’ On ‘American Idol’

'I definitely got distracted by the cameras and the fact that the judges were going to criticize me in front of 30 million people on live TV,' he says.

His “American Idol” journey might have come to an end Thursday, but John Park will always have Shania Twain.

The guest judge made Park’s audition one of the most memorable of the season, with her borderline-inappropriate comments about his “bottom end.” The Northbrook, Illinois, college student never quite lived up to his initial promise, however, and he was sent packing , along with Jermaine Sellers , Haeley Vaughn and Michelle Delamor .

We caught up with the 21-year-old Friday (March 5) to talk about the judges’ harsh comments, his early front-runner status and what’s next.

Q: After your performance this week, Simon made a comment about your college a cappella group getting their lead singer back. What were you thinking when he said that?

A: He was basically saying that I might go home this week. He, of course, dramatized it so that people at home watch it and they can get a kick out of it. I don’t really mind it, because I understand where he’s coming from. That’s just how he is on TV. After the elimination happened and I sang my last song, he came up to me and shook my hand and said, “Good job for coming this far.” He’s not that mean of a guy, actually.

Q: It seemed like you and Andrew Garcia have been dogged from the start with the early front-runner status. Do you think that held you back at all?

A: I think it was mostly song choice and nerves. I definitely got distracted by the cameras and the fact that the judges were going to criticize me in front of 30 million people on live TV, so I think that kind of took away from my concentration on just singing the song honestly. I couldn’t do my best to interpret the song my own way.

Q: The judges got on your case about not showing them what kind of artist you would be. What type of music do you see yourself making?

A: I think it would be more pop, neo-soul. Kind of like a John Mayer, John Legend, Gavin DeGraw kind of feel to it.

Q: Were there past “American Idol” contestants who inspired you to try out for the show?

A: My favorite “Idol” winner was Kelly Clarkson. I just vividly remember her finale show, when she sang “A Moment Like This,” and she was crying onstage. It was just an incredible moment for me when I was a kid.

Were you sad to see John go? Did you think the judges were overly hard on him? Let us know below!

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