A favorite in the earlier rounds, Ace Young struggled to impress the judges in the finals and found himself in the bottom three several times before being eliminated Wednesday (see "Ace Young's 'American Idol' Run Ends"). The 25-year-old ladies' man went out on a high note, at least, with an earnest rendition of "That's All."

Q: Finally Simon gives you some props, and then the next night he turns around and gives you this evil glare and says you're going home. Did he have something out for you?

A: I would hope not. Simon is the type of guy who will give you a backhanded compliment. That's just how he is. He's very straightforward, and I think America loves him for that. The whole world loves him for that. After the show he came up to me and shook my hand and gave me a hug and said, "I have a feeling that I'm going to see a lot of you." I smiled and said, "I'm going to hold you to two things: After I sang 'Father Figure,' you said, 'You definitely have the X factor and it's obvious you're a star.' " And he looked me right in the eye and smiled and said, "I hope you do. You earned that."

Q: After last week's performance episode aired, [Queen guitarist] Brian May criticized "Idol" for making it look like he didn't like your rendition of "We Will Rock You" when in fact he really liked it. Were you frustrated as well as to how that was edited?

A: I was definitely concerned. All I could do was field all the fury from my family and friends. They were really worried. I have to thank Brian May for coming out and supporting me and doing what he did. He really spoke up for me, and I really appreciate that.

Q: There's always theories as to why people are eliminated. Do you have any theories why you were the one?

A: I don't even look at it that way. I see this as a launching pad, and I'm very appreciative that out of 92,000 people, I got down to seven. I'm so humbled and so excited and so energetic just waiting to see what opportunity comes out of this. I don't think anything went wrong. On any given night, anything can happen. I think America was first shocked when Mandisa left.

Q:You got all dressed up and pulled your hair back for the first time on Tuesday. Do you think changing your look might have had something to do with it?

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A: That was the first suit I ever bought in my life. It was $2,000 and one of my friends helped me buy it, and I was so happy to be able to wear it. And when I had my hair down, it pulled away from the suit and it pulled away from the song. I mean, I'm singing a classic song. I thought it was a perfect way for me to go out, because it was the first show I had my grandparents at the show, and they played in the big-band era, saxophone and piano. And then my parents were able to come out and see the show as well, so I felt like I got dressed up for them and dressed up for America and they got to see a new look. My hair's still there, and I'm not going to stop. I'm a musician. I've been writing music since I was 9 years old, and I think America's going to be surprised to see what I come up with.

Q: What did you think about the way they broke you up into two groups?

A: I thought it was really hard on Taylor. I'm sure his fans like other people as well, so for him to pick, I'm sure it was hard on them. When I saw Chris in my group, I thought I was safe. I received good statements from the judges. When we found out we were the bottom three, I was more surprised that Chris was in the bottom three. It was a good wake-up call for his fans.

Q: Who are you going to miss the most?

A: I think most of all I'll miss the judges, because I'll see all the top 10 again for the whole summer. As for tightness, I'm really close with Chris. We've been close since Denver. And I felt like a big brother to Lisa and Paris and even to Kevin. And I'm going to miss Kevin since he won't be on the tour. But I'm really going to miss the judges because they'll be working on the next show when we do the tour. So I guess I'll see them on an equal ground.

Q: How do you feel about you brother Ryan becoming a bit of a star as well?

A: We're both single men that have some recognition from the show. Ryan is the reason for me being able to do this show. We're so close. We're the youngest of five boys. He broke his back when he was 20 years old in six places, and he had to learn how to walk again, and being [6 foot 7] was hard for him. So every day for a year when I was in high school, I would come home for lunch and sit next to his bed and talk. He learned how to walk again and dunk a basketball again. And he's my big support staff. When I moved out to California, he came with me. He sings too. The whole family does. We sing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve, and then I make him go to the hospital with me on Christmas Day and we sing from room to room.

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