It’s been widely reported that American Idol’s ratings are down this season, but there were still 32 million votes cast after Tuesday’s performance show -- just not enough to keep Aaron Kelly in the competition. “I think the judges wanted to see a little charisma. I got my confidence up, but I needed to believe a little bit more. I felt the more I went into the competition, the more gained,” says Aaron, whose rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon” earned some positive response from the judges and from this week's mentor, Harry Connick Jr. Aaron was so impressed that he thinks Harry would be a great replacement for exiting judge Simon Cowell. “He’s very honest and would fit the bill perfectly,” Aaron said after the show.
And even though he’s going home, the 17-year-old is still feeling lucky. “I got a chance to meet Rascal Flatts and take a picture with them,” beamed Aaron. “That was one of the highlights, getting to meet someone that inspired me so much. They thanked me for doing their music on the show, and it was an honor to do it. I look up to them so much.”
Next week, the remaining four contestants perform movie-themed songs under the guidance of returning mentor Jamie Foxx.
For more with Aaron, click here.
Eliminated May 5
What did Simon and Harry Connick Jr. say to you after the show?
Simon asked what I felt my best week was, I said Country Week, and he said that is where I shined the most. Country is what I feel most content with. I grew up with country music. It’s what I feel most comfortable with. The people who inspired me most are Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban. I seem myself going down that road. Harry said it was great and that I had a great voice that was almost angelic.
Was it tough for you doing school while you were doing the show?
It would be the same — waking up a little early to go to school. I looked at it as the contestants had to worry about their performances, but I had to worry about astronomy — so I had school to take my mind off it. I used it as an advantage.
People are saying Idol doesn’t have strong contestants this year, what would you say to that?
It seems they say that every year. These are all talented people, and we are all working hard up there. There’s a lot behind the scenes that is very difficult, as is singing a genre you are not comfortable with. We all did it pretty well, I think.
How was having your mom with you throughout the show?
Having Mom was a great support, and she gave up so much to make sure all the kids got what they want out of life, so we’ve never had to worry about anything. And she encouraged us to follow our dreams. My dad, also — they both put out a lot for me to do this, so I am very thankful to both of them. I love my mom very much for the things she has given up for me.
What’s next for you?
I am on the verge of finishing high school and have all my senior credits. I’d then love to record an album and do some original music that I have written. We are not allowed to do that on the show, so I don’t know if a lot of people know I do that, but it is a huge passion of mine.