Throughout the 10 seasons of "American Idol," contestants have won over viewers in a variety of ways. Casey James took off his shirt. Tim Urban slid across the stage. And countless others, ranging from season one's Jim Verraros to season 10 also-ran Chris Medina, have shared their personal lives and hardships as a way to inspire viewers.
But recently eliminated Jacob Lusk — whose life has had enough drama for at least three Tyler Perry movies — was dead-set on gaining a fanbase using one thing and one thing only: his voice.
"I didn't want to be a charity case," Lusk told MTV News on Monday afternoon (May 9). "I didn't want to use my father's death or my mom starting on welfare and going to college or getting her degree or me moving on my own and having rough times and barely finding a place to live and barely making ends meet."
Lusk, who made a name for himself with emotional, Gospel-tinged performances, said he was "definitely tempted" to share stories from his difficult past when going through the various audition rounds, but ultimately decided to keep his private life private as long as possible.
In fact, Lusk was so tight-lipped about his backstory that when he finally dedicated "Dance With My Father" to his deceased dad on 21st Century Song night, it took the "Idol" team by surprise. "A lot of the producers didn't know that my father had passed away," Lusk said.
"I didn't want to be that person who was voted for because of this; I wanted it to be because of my [voice] and not because of anything else," Lusk reiterated. "If you find out about that later, then that's fine, but it's just about the music."
Fifth-placer Lusk will join the rest of the top 11 when the latest cast hits the road on the American Idols Live! Tour this summer.
What do you think of Lusk keeping his personal life under wraps during the show? Let us know in the comments!
Don't miss "Idol Party Live" every Thursday at noon on MTV.com for analysis, celebrity guests and even some karaoke — get in the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #idolparty! In the meantime, get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.