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A lot was riding on Wednesday night’s performances for American Idol’s top 11 contestants - namely a place on the upcoming Idol Summer tour. But with only ten spots available someone was getting cut.
On Thursday night's results show, a slew of bottom 3 first timers was unveiled consisting of: Majesty Rose, Sam Woolf and Ben Briley, and after the 72 million votes were tallied, judge Keith Urban delivered the news that Ben was out of the competition.
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“I knew it was going to happen,” Ben told In Touch after the news. “I was expecting to be there in the bottom 3 because I had a kind of weak performance. I knew I could do a lot better.”
For his performance of Elton’s John’s classic Bennie & The Jets, Ben shed his trademark trucker look in favor of a tailored jacket and slicked back hair, something that may have hurt his country following.
“I wanted to show that if I was doing something different it would be on the exterior too,” he says. “That I could clean up a little bit and not wear a cap or something.
"I don’t regret doing that. I had a goal and I feel like I reached it. If I confused people, that was not at all what I wanted to do.”
While Ben is thankful for the experience he gained on the show, the lure of some rest, time with his wife and home is a comforting thought.
However, the 24-year-old is not going to miss being judged every week and had some respectful judging of his own when it comes to the Idol judging panel, who criticized him for losing himself with his new look.
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“It really bothers me when people say, ‘You need to stay in your vein,’ because that is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard in my life,” he admits.
“A lot of different genres have influenced me, a lot I love and wanted to showcase. I know who I am as an artist and that really bothered me, their [the judges] comments last night really bothered me because they kind of negated the entire… pretty much shot down what I was trying to do.
"I understood what they said, they wanted that authenticity, and that’s what I wanted to bring, but that wasn’t the goal. I wanted to show people that I can do other things.”
With that said, Ben is quick to add he’s not going to beat up on the judges or blame them for his elimination, but he does find their inconsistency frustrating,
“I’ve noticed they will say to one contestant, ‘You need to break out and do something different’ and when I do it, I get shot down for it. The inconsistency… something needs to happen there to where they are actually consistent with what they say because it not only confuses them, it confuses the people voting because they don’t know what to think.”
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“Maybe I did pick the wrong time to do that song or to break that out. I don’t think I did, but as far as regrets, I have none,” he adds.
“I set out to do what I wanted to do, which not many people can say on this show because you’re told what to do left and right and how to sing and stuff like that. I was just proud of myself that I told them when I wanted to do. If you don’t like it, then kick me off.”