Tim Urban Says Shirtless Picture ‘Helped More Than It Hurt’ On ‘American Idol’

'I don't perform for the people who don't like me; I perform for the people who want me to be onstage,' he says.

Tim Urban might have lasted on “American Idol” longer than fans expected, but those extra weeks actually gave him a chance to redeem himself after being lambasted by the judges week after week.

But he reached a little too high with his cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Better Days” during “Idol Gives Back” week and was sent packing Wednesday night.

During a conference call with reporters after his elimination, he opened up about his good attitude through all the criticism, Vote for the Worst’s support and that shirtless picture .

Q: Simon complimented you on your attitude in the competition, that you took everything positively. What did it mean to you that they recognized not only how you grew as a performer, but also appreciated the way you came across?

A: That’s actually something that was my goal on the show. It was not just to improve as an artist, but to just be a very good contestant and to take what everybody was saying and to just treat the situation — not let it get me down, but to take what they were saying and work at it and improve, but also, not to really complain or to talk back. Just take the criticism and work from it. It was cool to get that recognition about that. It’s something that I’m very proud of.

Q: What would you say to your critics who thought you only lasted as long as you did because of your good looks and charisma?

A: Oh, wow. I don’t think that I would respond to that. It seems that people just like to take somebody and then find something that they don’t like about them and talk about it. I get that. It’s part of dealing with the industry. It’s part of being in the spotlight. So people are going to say that, but people are going to say that about pretty much anybody. You’ll find people that don’t like any artist out there, and so you have to deal with it, shrug it off. I don’t perform for the people who don’t like me; I perform for the people who want me to be onstage, so those are the people that I try to worry about.

Q: What did you think when the shirtless picture of you hit the Web?

A: I kind of knew it would come out eventually. I didn’t really expect it to be as big as it was, because it kind of blew up really fast. That was kind of a little crazy, but I just took it in stride. It’s part of the show. Everybody is looking for something in the backstory. Everybody is looking for an extra story, so it’s just one of the stories that people decided to run with. I just try not to worry about it too much.

Q: Do you think it helped or hindered you?

A: Kind of both. I definitely heard that it helped, but then there are also people who might see that and not take me seriously, just because of that type of thing. I don’t know; I think it probably helped more than it hurt, but I don’t really know for sure.

Q: Last year, we heard a lot about contestants’ religious backgrounds and their experiences singing in church. How has your religion influenced your time on “American Idol”?

A: My personal belief has really shaped pretty much every aspect of my life. I grew up in a very Christian home, and that set of morals and just that upbringing has shaped me musically, has shaped me as a person, and just, I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to explain, because it’s pretty much who I am. So it’s not just a part of my life.

Q: What did you think about VoteForTheWorst.com backing you?

A: I’m not excited that I was on their website. I think that it’s really not anything that anybody should be proud of. I really didn’t like being on there, and basically I was working my hardest to get off of it. Yes, I’m actually kind of sad that I was on that website at all.

Q: What do you want to do next? A few people have floated the idea of you teaming up with Disney or appearing on “Glee.”

A: You know, I would love to do music. I would love to pursue that, and I’m hoping that that door opens up, but I also have always had a desire to act, and to just be in that side of the entertainment industry as well. So I would be really excited if I got the opportunity to do that as well. I’m just waiting to see what happens, but I’m open to any of that at this point. I’m really just excited about the whole thing.

Were you sad to see Tim go? Will you listen to his post-”Idol” music? Let us know in the comments below!

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