Michael Johns' Aussie accent - and true feelings - came through loud and clear Friday during an interview with "American Idol" reporters. Yes, he's still in shock over last night's elimination, but geez what a positive guy. Michael, 29, already has gotten phone calls from musical stars none of us will ever hear from, and he's ready to move ahead.
Here's what he had to say about his experiences on the show.
Q: Your parting performance was great last night - maybe even better than during Tuesday night's competition. Your thoughts?
A: "Actually, I wasnít thinking at all. But, I would be lying if I said I wasnít shocked, too. I believe the last two weeks were my strongest. Stuff happens, and it did."
Q: This week, with its inspirational theme, do you think picking a rock song was an advantage or a disadvantage, especially considering what the other contestants were singing?
A: "I never chose a song based on what the competition was doing. I chose songs based on their lyrical content and emotion. The Aerosmith song was amazing. Iím living my own dream. The song is about struggle and overcoming it. Living in America is my dream. I have no regrets on the song choice at all."
Q: Dolly Parton was the first mentor. How did you handle country, considering your're rock and soul/R&B?
A: "Dolly week, of course! I sang 'Itís All Wrong, But Itís All Right.' I took a country song and turned it into a soul song."
Q: Next week is another mentor week - with Mariah Carey. Had you already picked a song?
A: "Yes, I was going to sing her first hit, 'Vision of Love' (1990). The song spoke to me, and I wanted to put a nice bluesy feel to it. But, that's not going to happen. Maybe on the tour."
Q: How do you feel about the judges' remarks during the competition, and what did they say to you last night after you performed?
A: "Sometimes Simon (Cowell) is off the mark. But I respect him. They wanted me to sing soul/blues stuff every week. But I'm both a rock and a soul singer, and I stayed true to that. Paula (Abdul) has been spot on. I think it's been a weird judging year. She whispered she would bet her house she would be at one of my concerts. Randy, too. I ended the night in a good place."
Q: Host Ryan Seacrest gave you sort of a cruel twist last night, saying no one got kicked off after "Idol Gives Back" last year. Did you think you might be safe?
A: "I get the television aspect of this competition. Yeah, I thought, 'Wait a second, Iím not going home.' I've never been in the bottom three. But then Ryan gave me a look, and I knew."
Q: Who have you heard from since last night?
A: "It's been amazing. I got to speak to Dolly (Parton) this morning. Sheís a fan of mine now! She loved what I did with her song. And she said she hopes to do a duet with me. I've also gotten messages from mates Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. It's nice to hear from fellow Australians."
Q: Where did you get that Dolly shirt you wore on last week's results show?
A: "That's a funny story. I saw it backstage while we were getting ready for the show. One of the stylists said it was a vintage shirt he got just as a gag. I asked if I could wear it."
Q: There already are comparisons between you and Chris Daughtry, who many still believe was eliminated too early in Season 5. Do you think he ended up with more credibility because he didn't win?
A: Iíve heard that a bunch this morning. I've met him, and Chris is an amazing guy and musician. Winning or not winning depends on the artist, and it depends on what album you make afterward. The 'Idol' finalists have stayed true to themselves."
Q: What will you miss most about being on "Idol?"
A: "Not getting enough sleep! You know, the crying (from the other contestants) wasn't a put-on. You get to know them - their lives, their families. They're really talented people. I think we've all struck a nerve this season. It proves you can't let your favorite go."
Q: Are you excited about the upcoming tour?
A: "Certainly. Most artists donít get this kind of audience of thousands at this stage of their careers. Itís an honor. I canít wait to get out there and rock."
Q: How do Australians drown their sorrows?
A: Pick your poison, mates! Australia is a beer-drinking country, so I guess I'll have a few beers."