"American Idol" voters eliminated Michael Lynche back in the top nine, but the judges swooped in to save the burly R&B crooner. Then a funny thing happened: Big Mike lasted five more weeks, apparently winning over a few more voters after his near-exit.
His run ended, however, after a Movie Night performance of Michael Jackson's "Free Willy" anthem "Will You Be There." We caught up with the 26-year-old dad to talk about the judges' save and his Hollywood Week dilemma.
Q: What was your mind-set before the elimination announcement? Were you expecting to go home, or were you surprised?
Michael Lynche: Not surprised and not expected. I just think America's a fickle creature, and she's shown that as the competition has gone on. You just never know. I think that I was consistent every week and always gave my heart when I sang. The only thing with giving your heart is, it can get broken. But if it gets received well, it can be something really magical and special, and it was that on a couple of weeks. I think the way the wind blows the votes, you just never know. It's really up in the air.
Q: What was it like when the judges decided to use their save on you? Were you surprised?
Lynche: I felt like, going into the season, that I liked that concept of "sing for your life." And really, every week to me is "sing for your life," because nothing is guaranteed for you on the show. I never wanted to take anything for granted, and when I got to that point, and it was literally "sing for your life and the life of your family and your future, here's your one chance," I felt like I could do that. I thought that I could stand tall in that moment. And when it got down to Andrew [Garcia] and I, I wanted it to be me in that moment, because I didn't necessarily want him to go through that; he's a good buddy of mine. And I just felt strong enough and prepared enough to take that moment on. And it worked out, so I wasn't surprised that they saved me, just extremely grateful to still be around.
Q: This is the second year for the judges' save. While you made it weeks longer than last year's savee, Matt Giraud, you still didn't make the top three. Do you think the save is necessary or just delaying the inevitable?
Lynche: It's two-sided. It's really one of my favorite parts of the show, that people get to pick their champion. But it also depends on who's voting. As far as the save goes, it really speaks to your work ethic and your professionalism and what the judges see of you behind [the scenes], not just on the stage for that little minute-thirty that the audience and that America sees. The judges get to see a bit more of us and what your reputation is around set and around the crew. I think it just speaks to who you are as a professional for them to take that chance on you, to save you, to say to America: "Think about this again, because this person really has shown us to be a professional and to be somebody worth taking a look at."
Q: Viewers fell in love with you and your family during Hollywood Week when your wife gave birth to your baby girl. Now that you don't have a chance to win the show anymore, do you still think it was vital to give "Idol" a go instead of being home then?
Lynche: I don't think you can ever say anything is worth missing the birth of your child. Only time will let those wounds heal. But this definitely gives my family a good chance in the future and gives my daughter a better chance that I did it and took that sacrifice. Me, personally, of course I didn't want to miss it and of course I would choose that over, but it wasn't a choice. This was what I needed to do for the family at this time, and I'm definitely looking forward to spending more time [with them].
Q: Randy gave you a big hug after you were eliminated. What did he say to you?
Lynche: He was just pointing out that Daughtry got #4 and that I've got a chance to be special if I just keep going, and it's not a bad place to be, where I am.
Were you sad to see Big Mike go? Will you follow his post-"Idol" career? Let us know in the comments!
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