While America may have found his April 28 Idol exit shocking, Casey Abrams wants fans to know he's holding up just fine.
"I just felt like it was bound to happen," Abrams, 20, tells Us Weekly of getting the boot, which occurred five weeks after he was saved from a premature exit by Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler. The elimination "felt right," says Abrams, arguing that fatigue set in and was evident in his performance. "I felt I didn't give enough to be in the top."
VIDEO: Casey kisses Jennifer Lopez on Idol
During a May 2 visit to Us' New York City offices, Abrams dished on his fateful performance, what'll appear on his Idols LIVE! tour setlist, and yes, his "musical buddy" Haley Reinhart. Read on for his responses as Idol's final five prepare to sing songs from 'now and then' -- one current song and one from the 1960s -- Wednesday.
Us Weekly: Was getting the boot less shocking as it was the week you were saved?
Casey Abrams: It felt right and not as shocking. Last Thursday, I just felt like it was bound to happen. That song [Carole King's "Hi-De-Ho"] was not the perfect moment for me and everyone else had a perfect moment that night. Carole King week was really tough because it's an artist I don't really know.
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Us: As far as the judges' save goes, you've said you felt guilty for being the Idol to earn it.
CA: I felt guilty at first, but now I'm feeling extremely lucky. So many people were so upset about Pia [Toscano's elimination], and it just made me think twice. When I read some things that said 'Casey gets the save, and not Pia?' it made me second guess myself, but after that I felt like I deserved to be back. I even told Pia, and she was very nice about it. She said, 'No you deserved the save.' That was really nice of her to say.
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Us: This season, the judges haven't really pulled the Simon Cowell card and offered negative critiques. Did their feedback help or hurt you?
CA: I'm really digging the new panel. Yes, sometimes they're a little too nice. I actually think they were a little too nice to me. I've been off, I've been pitchy, and Randy's been quiet through that. He didn't say anything. Then they'll pick on Haley sometimes. But the thing is, they have really big hearts and that's why they're a really good panel.
Us: Speaking of Haley, please set the record straight: What's going on with you two?
CA: We're friends. We're musical buddies. Musical counterparts. We would always sit really close to one another and giggle about things, just talk about how crazy our schedule is. We'd just laugh at dumb things away from everyone else and I think that's why everyone thought that we were dating. It's good having that one person who really knows you as a person, and can relate with everything that's going on. Get through the hard times and celebrate the good times.
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Us: What do you think her chances are moving forward?
CA: Good. Very, very good! Her voice is incredible. The tone of her voice is like nothing I've ever, ever heard before. Never ever. I wish you knew how serious I was about this. Like, it's never going to be replicated, and it's never been done before. I mean, I think her heart's in jazz, jazzy rock. That Adele song was perfect and I thought "Moanin'" was amazing.
Us: What about the other Idols? Give me a reason why each of the remaining contestants should win.
CA: Each of them...that's very smart of you. Scotty [McCreery]'s very humble. His performances are awesome and his voice is incredible. Jacob [Lusk] could do anything from rock n' roll to gospel to jazz. His range can sound like this deep, deep old guy and then sound like Christina Aguilera. It's just amazing. [James] Durbin knows how to perform and can really relate to his song. He really emotes to the song and he really tries to feel it. Lauren [Alaina] can do anything on stage. Haley does really high notes and really low notes, but Lauren kind of stays in [mid-range]. She can make [mid-range] sound incredible!
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Us: Lastly, this summer you'll join the contestants for the Idols LIVE! concert tour. What will your set consist of?
CA: I'm just going to have a special guest each time and I'm going to kiss them. Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Ke$ha...I'll just bring them on stage and kiss them. Maybe do some music, too!