After a stellar run on American Idol, season eight's biggest shock happened on the April 29 episode of the show, when fan favorite Adam Lambert found himself in the bottom three for the first time. Along with Kris Allen and Matt Giraud, Adam seemed just as surprised as the judges by America's vote. An even bigger shock came when Kris was sent to safety first leaving only Matt and Adam to duke it out. Sadly, after the nationwide vote of 47 million, it was Matt who was told his Idol dream was over.
As recipient of the judges' elusive "save vote," Matt made Idol history and did manage to survive another week on the show. But as a constant entrant in the bottom three, it appeared it was only a matter of time for Matt.
"I am proud of what I did," Matt tells In Touch. "I wouldn't have done anything different. I could have done a bigger song, but I listened to it back and thought it was good." Matt also says he thinks he went out on a high note by getting his highest praise from his toughest critic — Simon Cowell — who called his performance "brilliant."
Matt's Idol dreams are hold for the moment, but he's looking forward to hitting the road in the summer on the American Idol tour.
Next week, the final four battle it out in Rock Week, with guest mentor Slash (of Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver fame) and performances by No Doubt and Daughtry.
For more with this week's eliminated contestant, click here.
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Mich.
"I cant wait to see my name on a trivia card."
The judges were split on your performance this week, and Simon liked you.
Matt: Kara is usually on my side, but you know, it was a great way to go out. Going out with Simon calling you brilliant and comparing you to Nat King Cole was pretty much the best way it could go. It's better than going out with "That's the worst you have ever done — have a good day."
Did you expect to go, especially when you were standing next to Adam?
Matt: I didn't know, but I was ready for it and preparing what I was going to say and trying to prepare myself mentally for such a hard thing to deal with. But afterward, I was at complete peace with myself. I went out doing what I love to do, jazz week, and that's what I wanted to do in my dreams — play piano and meet my idols and I accomplished what I wanted to do. I did a good job and appreciated Simon's comments. Now I'm moving on.
Did the bottom three surprise you this week?
Matt: I was definitely surprised by the bottom three and that Adam was there with me. It was a cruel twist to have him pick who were the lowest vote-getters. I would have pulled [a David] Archuleta and just sat down, not joined any group. But we kind of played with him backstage, asking why he didn't pick us to be the highest vote-getters. But I have been there before, so I could deal with it. Adam didn't really like his performance this week, but we all thought he was great, and we all did a good show.
What did you learn on the show?
Matt: I believe in myself more that ever. I have learned what I am best at and what my weaknesses are and learned to deal with the pressure. I can deal with harsh criticism more than ever. I never thought I could take a bad comment, and now, nothing gets to me when someone tells me I am horrible, because the next person tells me I am great — you never know. The bad comments roll off now more than ever.
How was the up and down of being saved, then getting another week, then being eliminated?
Matt: I can't wait to see my name on a trivia card. I feel blessed and honored, being saved I had never felt so much love in a room befor,e and that was one of the coolest moments of my life. It made me feel really special and I hope people think it was worth it. I didn't know people felt that passionate about me. One of the security guards told me he had never heard the room so loud, and that meant a lot, as they have seen it all.
What kind of album would you like to do?
Matt: I'd like to get more into rock and soulful rock with a blues twist. I'd love to be the lead man on piano with a band around me — touring and doing good music like Gavin DeGraw or The Fray.