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This week was the end of the line for Ace Young, the 25-year-old contestant from Colorado who certainly added weight to the argument that this is the best-looking season of American Idol to date. And I do mean date, because if youíre wondering what dreamy-eyed, mellow, grounded Ace is looking for in a girl, youíve come to the right place. Just donít send your love notes to his MySpace, because as he tells reporters in this media interview -- well, read on, music fans.
Q: Finally Simon gives you some props through this whole season and then the next night he gives you this like, evil glare and says youíre going home. Whatís with this guy? Tell me about your relationship with him? Did you think he had something out for you?
Ace: I would hope not. Simon is the type of guy that will give you a backhanded compliment and thatís just how he is. Heís very straightforward and America loves him for that Ė I think the whole world loves him for that.
After the show, he came up to me and shook my hand and gave me a hug and said, "I have a feeling Iím going to see a lot of you." And I looked at him and I smiled and I said, well, Iím going to hold you to two things. And he said, whatís that? I said, after I sang Father Figure, you said you definitely have the X factor and itís obvious that youíre a star. And he looked at me right in the eyes, smiled and said, "I hope you do hold me to that." He said, "You earned that."
Q: Out of all the celebrity guests, who gave you the best advice and what was it?
Ace: I would have to say that Kenny Rogers gave me the best advice and that was just to pour your heart and soul into every song. And he did that just because I really didnít song a lot of country before this competition and the country week was a lot of fun for me and I actually shined on it, I did really well. And it was his advice that definitely pulled me through.
Q: Out of the guests, which one was the most intimidating or which one were you the most nervous about meeting?
Ace: I would have to say Rod Stewart. He has this wonderful comfort to him and until you actually get to see him perform live, it can be very intimidating. But after I saw him perform on the show, it was very warm and welcoming and what a great guy.
Q: After last weekís performance episode aired, Brian May came out and criticized Idol for making it look like he didnít like your rendition of We Will Rock You when he said that in fact he did. Were you frustrated as well as to how that was edited?
Ace: I was definitely concerned and all I could do was field all the fury from my family and friends. They were really worried. And I have to thank Brian May for coming out and supporting me and for doing what he did. He really spoke up for me and I really appreciate him for that.
Q: Every week, there are different theories as to why people are voted off. Do you have any theories or anything like that?
Ace: I donít even look at it that way. I see this as a launching pad and Iím very appreciative that out of all these 92,000 people, I got down to seven. And Iím so humbled and so excited so energetic just waiting to see what opportunity comes out of this.
Q: So your full name is Brett Asa Young, right? Where did the nickname Ace come about?
Ace: My great-grandfatherís name was Asa Thomason and he went by Ace his whole life. My parents named me Ace. As far as my initials, they wanted it to spell something since my last name is young and Iím the fifth boy. So everybodyís initials spell something. Thereís a J.O.Y., thereís a R.A.Y., thereís a B.A.Y., me being the B.A.Y.
I got the name Brett from George Brett; he was a baseball player for the Kansas City Royals. I didnít know my name was Brett until I was about six. I read my birth certificate and I said, whoís this? And my mom was like, thatís you. And I was like, okay. But Iíve always been Ace.
Q: Who will you miss from the show?
Ace: Well, I think most of all, Iím going to miss the judges because Iím going to see all the top 10 again for the whole summer. But as far as the tightness of everybody, Iím really close with Chris. Chris and I have been close since Denver. And I felt like a big brother to Lisa and to Paris and even to Kevin. So Iím definitely going to miss Kevin because Iím not going to see him on the tour - he missed it by one.
But Iím really going to miss the judges overall because theyíre going to be working on the next show already when weíre touring and I guess Iíll see them on an equal ground.
Q: What was your favorite performance personally out of the seven or eight you did?
Ace: Out of all of them, I think that my favorite would have to be Father Figure. I really enjoyed it. It was Ė Iíve always fit the niche of being a crossover artist and thatís been something that helped me and hurts me.
Q: And any songs that you wanted to sing but just couldnít get clearance? Was there anything that you just wish you could have given people a chance to show them?
Ace: There were some Prince songs I really wanted to do.
Q: So you would have loved to have had Prince as a theme, right?
Ace: Oh, yes. That would have been a good week for me.
Q: Your favorite Prince song?
Ace: I would have to say The Kiss.
Q: I havenít met you personally but Iíve gotten to know your family over the past two weeks; your brother Ryan especially.
Ace: Yes, heís a good guy. Heís tall, 6í7Ē.
Ace: Yes. Makes me look short. Iím 6í1Ē and I look short.
Q: Ace, I want to actually ask you two things; first, about your brother Ryan. I was in the audience every week and he developed a pretty huge fan following. He was signing autographs for a long time the other night. Can you talk a little bit how you both have sort of become a favorite of the young women?
Ace: For sure. Well, weíre both single men that are Ė we definitely have some recognition on that show. And Ryan is the reason for me even being able to do this show. He and I are so close. Weíre the youngest of five boys and weíve been close forever. He actually broke his back when he was 20 years old; in six places, dislocated it and he learned how to walk again. And being 6í7Ē was a hard thing for him. And every day at lunch in high school, Iíd come home and sit next to his bed and weíd talk. He was in bed for a year.
He learned how to walk again; he learned how to dunk a basketball again and he is my big support staff. When I moved out to California, he came with me and really helped me to get free so I could actually work on music.
Q: Does he sing, too?
Ace: He does. The whole family does. We do Christmas Carols Christmas Eve and then I make him go to Childrenís Hospital with me on Christmas Day and we sing room to room.
Q: You guys could really start a duo there. I want to ask you one other thing. Chris Daughtry, you were referred to as the Matt Damon and Ben Affleck of this yearís Idol. So it was kind of funny yet fitting. But you said you would trade places with Chris had it been Chris being sent home last night. You said you would have stepped in his place. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Ace: Any day of the week. Chris and I, we have a lot in common and heís a very good man. Heís what you want in a marriage as far as very direct and loyal guy. And Dianna is very lucky to have him and she knows that and sheís adorable.
And he and I really clicked. We clicked from the beginning just because we kind of have the same upbringing. Weíre big on family; weíre big on people. And he, just like me, canít wait to get to the fan base. I mean, I canít wait to shake hands with my fans and give them hugs and say thank you for getting me to number seven. But any day of the week Iíd step in front of a moving train for that guy.
Q: How did Colorado fans support you? Was there a particular outpouring from here?
Ace: Coloradoís been amazing. I canít wait to get back there and just have fun and party in Colorado. Iím blown away with the support that Iíve received in Colorado through everything.
Q: Thatís right. The High Rollers were based here, werenít they?
Ace: The High Rollers were based there and the High Rollers did something really amazing. They raised $2000 for me last week and they donated it to the Denver Childrenís Hospital in my name so that they could put that towards whatever they felt necessary. And itís just amazing that they know me; they know that I go there every year for Christmas and I donít even ask for presents on Christmas because after Iím done singing there for five or seven hours, whatever it is, room to room, Iím good to go.
Q: Are you going to do that this Christmas?
Ace: Iím going to do it. It will be my eighth year in a row and Iím going to tell Kathleen McBride hello and Iím going to give her a big hug again just like I did last year.
Q: Do you know if the Idolís tour is going to come through Colorado?
Ace: It definitely is. I asked and they said we were because of the support we received in Colorado from my fans and the fact that Iím from there.
Q: A quick question about the whole bottom three thing last night and about how they split you up into two groups and then made Taylor pick. What was that like? Was that intense? Did you have any idea what was going on?
Ace: I thought it was definitely hard on Taylor and his fans because his fans like other people as well and for him to have to pick is probably hard on both of them.
Q: What was going through your mind?
Ace: When I saw Chris in my group, I thought I was safe. I received good statements from the judges; I really thought I was safe. And when we found out we were in the bottom three, I was more surprised that Chris was in the bottom three and I think it was a really good wake-up call for his fans to know that their votes definitely count.
Q: Now, going back to voting for a second, do you think people are voting more on personality versus talent? Because I know thereís that Ė all the judges say youíve got to show your personality. What do you think?
Ace: I donít even know how to answer that. We donít get to know the votes. We donít get to know what worked and what didnít from one week to the next. But all I know is that the response I receive when Iím out and about is overwhelming. People really like me and they know that Iím humble and Iím down to earth and if I were anything but, my four older brothers would beat me up.
So itís something just to be grateful and just enjoy and Iím so blown away with everything.
Q: You know you were in the bottom three quite a few times, until yesterdayís performance. And this week, you had this new look; you ditched your curly locks and your long-sleeved shirts for a ponytail and a suit. So why did you go for this fashion revamp and do you think that it actually helped pull you down in any way?
Ace: You know what? That was the first suit Iíve ever bought in my life. And I bought it for my self Ė
Q: Oh, really? How much was it?
Ace: It was $2000.
Q: Oh, my God. Congrats.
Ace: And one of my friends helped me buy it and I was so happy to be able to wear it and when I had my hair down, it pulled away from the suit and it pulled away from the song. I mean, Iím singing a classic song.
So I pulled my hair back and I thought it was a perfect way for me to go out because it was the first show that I had my grandparents at the show and they played in the Big Band Era; saxophone and piano. And then my parents from Colorado were able to come out and see the show as well.
So I felt like I got dressed up for them and I got dressed up for America and they got to see a new look. My hair is still there and Iím not going to stop. Iím a musician. Iíve been writing music since I was nine years old. I think that Americaís going to be very surprised with what I come up with.
Q: What is the one thing that surprised you the most about a competition such as American Idol?
Ace: That would have to be the support that the fans are giving. I mean, this show is so big that Ė I have a big family; I havenít had a secret since I was born, I think, that all of Boulder, Colorado and Denver, Colorado didnít know about. Everything Iíve done has been public. So this show is like that to the world. And itís so amazing that the world takes you in and loves you the way that they do. And itís been an overwhelming experience all in all.
Q: You have lots of fans here in Malaysia. I was looking at your MySpace Website and wow! The amount of female fans you have there is just astounding.
Ace: I actually don't have a MySpace page.
Q: Well, somebody must have created that for you. I was wondering what kind of quality do you look for in a girl?
Ace: You know what? I really like someone who just has direction. If you have drive and you know what you want to do; you don't have to know what you're going to do for your whole life, but just have some goals to go for, I would support you 100%. And that's the sexiest thing in anybody that I could look for.
Q: You have a very cool fashion sense. I was wondering, how much do you spend on your wardrobe for the show every week?
Ace: I've spent more than I've been given by the show. That's for sure. And the one thing that's really funny is if you look at the so-called makeover that was in the magazine, you'll see that the only difference from the first picture to the second is that I'm in a button-up. And I am so grateful that I have been able to dress myself. The one time I let the actual wardrobe people really help me, I didn't like it; I didn't like what I wore. And I'm so happy that America likes my style of dress and that I haven't changed. If you look at me from the very beginning, I haven't changed. I'm the same guy; if I do change again, my brothers will beat me up. And I would want them to because America likes Ace this way. America likes me the way that I am and I'm grateful.
Q: Good. So whatís next? Are you going to head back to Colorado at all? Are you going to stick it out in LA?
Ace: A little bit of both. After I do the next week of just all the interviews, I want to do a little studio work and see what comes out of me as far as writing, because Iím sure I have a lot of things I donít even know that are going to come out just through all the experiences that Iíve been through. And I want to come back. I want to party in Colorado. I want to party with everybody thatís kept me here and got me to number seven. Number sevenís a good number for Colorado Ė weíve got it John Elway and Iím carrying it back. So Iím just excited to go hit the Foundry in Boulder and then go downtown and LoDo and just Ė I want to party. I want to see everybody and I want to go visit some schools and say hello and anything I can do to give guidance, Iím down.
Q: And then, what do you think was the biggest lesson that you learned from being on the show?
Ace: I think the biggest lesson I learned is, just be who you are. I came into this and Iím naturally very humble. Iím very grounded and Iím all about family. And I think that Iíve grown up a lot. I came in as a young man and Iím leaving as a man that feels free. Itís amazing how free I actually feel; not from the show, just from everything. I feel like I can do anything and I feel that everybodyís ready to hear some music from me and I know everybodyís ready to party because this is a big deal and itís a big deal for me and itís a great achievement for me and for Colorado. I love Colorado. Iím always going to be from Colorado and have a place in Colorado.
Q: Well, I was one of your biggest fans, and really upset that you got voted out. But I was just wondering, when Ryan referred to you and Chris as Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, where did that come from? Was that a running joke between all of you?
Ace: No, they started that after they saw my hair back. They said I looked like an even more attractive Ben Affleck. And I didnít know what to say so I just kind of went, ďthank you?Ē
Q: So Matt Damon must be Chris.
Ace: Matt Damon must be Chris. I donít know how he feels about that so youíre going to have to ask him later.
Q: And what was going through your head when Chris actually ended up in the bottom two? ... both of you are roommates and good friends.
Ace: Yes. Weíre going to be friends for life. And -
Q: Were you totally shocked?
Ace: Well, I was shocked to see him in the bottom three. And when we were sitting there, I looked at him and during the commercial break, I gave him a big hug and I said enjoy the ride. This is amazing and weíve gotten this far so weíve got to enjoy the rest of the show. Weíve got to enjoy the ride. And when they let me sing, I sang to my mom and she got me choked up and I came back up and I said hello to my fans and I was ready to go.
Q: Well, you seem to be a magnet for all the tabloid reports. So I think the latest one is about you and Chris being difficult for producers to handle because you were constantly complaining. But I donít see that happening. Where do you think that comes from?
Ace: You should ask all the producers because actually last night at my farewell dinner, they told me that Iím the easiest person to deal with in American Idol history. And they loved the fact that I was in by curfew and I did everything that they needed to be done as far as the rules go. So I think itís just something to talk about, which is flattering.
Q: Well, I think youíre ... best looking male finalist in American Idol history.
Ace: Thank you so much.
Q: So with your package and with your looks and your talent Ė
Ace: Well, also my parents thank you as well.
Q: I mean, with your looks and talent, are you thinking of going into acting or modeling or anything like that?
Ace: I would love to. I canít wait to see what opportunity arises. I would love to do everything. Everything that I can Ė
Q: Including singing.
Ace: - and Iím really big on fundraisers, too. I really want to get out and do things for the hospitals, for the kids, for people that are fighting. I mean, Iím the youngest of five, I felt like the underdog my entire life. Iíve had to fight for my attention and Iíve had a lot to live up to. And Iím definitely one that votes for the fighter. I want that drive, that inspiration. And those kids in Childrenís Hospital blow me away. They have so much fight in them and I commend each and every one of them.
Q: Well, I have to say the last question which is ... final one. My colleague wanted to know have you ever been on the cover of a romance novel.
Ace: Not yet.
Q: Because you really look like one of those guys.
Ace: Well, thank you. If you ever see me, send me a copy.
Q:You talked a little bit about the makeover before. Any regrets Ė I said the makeover because it was the one with the hair pulled back and the suit Ė any regrets about that now? Because people were looking at it as maybe that was one of the reasons that you got voted out.
Ace: You know, not at all. Again, I really wanted to clean up and get into the mood of singing a classic song. And when I had my hair down, it was a distraction. I kept looking at it and I was sitting there thinking, whatís wrong? And when I put it up, it fit the mood. I really wanted to fit that mood of a classic song and I feel I did and I know my grandparents and my parents really enjoyed it. So I couldnít have gone out on a better note.
Q: And quickly, how did you hold it together when you said hi to your mom in the audience during your final performance?
Ace: I didnít. If you watched, I pulled the mike away because I was choked up and I started crying. That was a little bit too much for me. Iím very sensitive and that hit me right on that note and I then said, everybody, this is my mom and I walked back around and when I got my composure, I started singing again.
Moderator: Did you have any closing remarks, Ace?
Ace: Yes. I just want to tell everybody thanks you for all the support and all the kind words that everyone said. And as far as everything goes, this is the launching pad. This is my beginning point and Iím a musician through and through. I have a lot of songs up my sleeve and Iím going to write many more. So just keep your ears open and Iíll be around. Thank you so much for your time.