Chikezie, the LAX employee with the soulful pipes, says he'll march on in the music world - maybe even win a Grammy one day!
Chikezie, 22 (pictured), was eliminated on Wednesday night's "American Idol" results show. But, in a conference call with "Idol" reporters, he assures that he'll still be a part of the mix because he'll be going on tour with the Top 10 this summer.
Sounding weary (as they all do the day after), he was - as always - optimistic. Here's some of what he had to say about his experience on the show and what's to come:
Q:You are one of the most joyous contestants we've seen on the show. Are you always this happy?
A: I tend to wear my emotions on my face. I can be sweating without doing any kind of work.
Q: On Tuesday, you sang "If Only For One Night." It seemed like the judges werenít feeling it. What was your impression?
A: I didnít care, honestly. I already knew Simon (Cowell) wasnít going to feel it. I came in knowing that. But I had to do what I felt best represented me. It's like running on a diving board. Itís eventually going to end and you have to keep going. Actually, it took the pressure off. I was performing for the sake of performing. I knew I was going to be in the bottom three, and I knew I was going home.
Q: What have you learned about yourself from being on "Idol", and what's the best piece of advice you've received?
A: That hard work and perseverance pay off. And that you've got to fight with everything youíve got. As for advice, all the voice coaches and the band members got together and told me to be true to myself.
Q: How hard was it to leave the other contestants?
A: Last night, I was glad none of the other guys had to go home. It's hard to say goodbye to your friends. But I really didn't have to say goodbye. They didnít have to say goodbye, either, because we're going on tour this summer.
Q: In your bio it says you've never attended a concert. So what was it like performing on the "Idol" stage? And what is the new mosh pit like with the swaying arms?
A: Thatís true about the concert thing. Itís incredible being able to get on stage and perform songs you love. I didnít know it was like a skill. And there's stuff you do when you think no one is watching. (The pit) isn't distracting. It's exciting! I've never heard people scream so loud.
Q: How did you feel about the weekly group numbers and the choreography? And what kind of relationships have you formed with the other contestants?
A: With the group thing, it was like, 'Here we go again. Does anybody actually enjoy these?' With the contestants, it becomes a family. We're going for a similar goal - not necessarily to win or beat somebody but to be successful at something we love. It's an amazing support system. And there's nothing more than friendships going on. It would be awkward on the tour!
Q: This wasn't your first "Idol" audition. So what made the difference this go-round?
A: The biggest difference is realizing that, yes, I can sing, but what else is there? At the other auditions, I kept asking myself why I wasn't getting anywhere. I came to the realization that everyone else is singing. But can I perform, work a stage, entertain? Going to Hollywood last year and getting sent home told me something was missing. So, I studied music styles and different artists. I videotaped myself performing to figure out why I wasn't connecting. This experience was actually easier than that.
Q: "Idol" is a great platform for the contestants. Where do you see yourself headed 10 years from now? And what kind of music would you like to record?
A: I love fusion, the melding of different styles of music. I definitely want to take risks. In 10 years, I'd love to win at least one Grammy. I want to get started with my music career, making albums that make other people feel good. Acting? Why not try everything? I'm always testing myself to what I can accomplish. I'm realizing more about myself every time I hit the stage. It's been more of a growth process than a change for me.