This was an interesting interview week. All the contestants were very close and eliminated in the final round. I definitely noticed some upset, anger and emotions when talking with them. Jarred was very open about his experience on the show and I wish him the best of luck. I was able to get through for a few questions and they are highlighted in red.
Last night you had mentioned that you were pretty surprised. You were pretty shocked that you got eliminated. How are you feeling about that today?
J. Cotter: I feel shocked, man. Honestly, itís really hard for me to swallow, definitely. It was real disappointing. I never expected to be home this early.
Now, Randy said that you need more originality. Do you have any thoughts about repackaging yourself? What do you think about those comments that he made last night?
J. Cotter: You know what? I was doing songs where they recommend you not changing them too much. I was doing Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. I wasnít doing 311, you know? I didnít want to change those songs too much because then they would have said, ďYou know what? Donít change those songs.Ē It was a lose/lose situation for me.
Do you have any theories, as to why you might have been eliminated?
J. Cotter: I honestly think it was Simonís comments last week, man, and the previous week, actually. My performance did not warrant me going home. Iím still very disappointed and still shocked. I just did not expect to be going home this early.
You mentioned your song choices and compared it to 311. There are certainly guys this year who are doing contemporary stuff that Idol has never seen before and standing out because of that. Do you regret maybe not doing something newer?
J. Cotter: No, I donít have any regrets. I think I would have changed the next week to Diana Ross, probably would have updated one of her songs a little bit to be more contemporary because thatís really more my style anyway. If you listen to my music online, you definitely notice the difference. I was just taking school of thought from previous winners and, unfortunately, it didnít work out for me.
Whatís going on? Do you think VoteForTheWorst.com is messing things up?
J. Cotter: I donít know if itís messing things up.
Dude, look at the people who stayed and you didnít. Talk to me. Be honest with me here.
J. Cotter: No, Iíll be honest with you always, Steve. Sundance and Antonella were voted for the worst and they got voted off. I donít know if itís that. I think that they do, though, need to get a handle on all those Web sites, such as Ö vote for mad people like that.
Do you see this as effecting why you left so early? Maybe another way to ask this is, do you feel like the vote yesterday was really based on pure singing talent alone?
J. Cotter: No. Yesterday was definitely not based on votes alone. You had four contestants that were either extremely talented and/or in the media so much, that they would have gotten through, you know what Iím saying? Something is up. At the end of the day, Iím really happy to be in this position, only because Iím looking forward to these new opportunities that are coming to me after being seen by 30 million people a night for three weeks.
What are you planning to do in the future with your singing?
J. Cotter: Well, I have to wait a few months before I get a deal, but Iím sure there are definitely things on the horizon for me, as far as thatís concerned. I model and I act as well, so Iím going to stay in L.A. for a few more weeks and see what kind of opportunities there are for me.
Who is your top pick for whoís going to win now?
J. Cotter: You know what? I would normally give you an answer, but I really canít call it. The way the voting is done, the fact that Sundance, myself, Sabrina and Antonella got voted off this week, you canít call it.
Well, you kind of answered my question, but I still want to ask, where do you see yourself, what are you going to do next? Do you think youíll stay in L.A.? What are your plans?
J. Cotter: Iím definitely going to stay out here for a little bit; 19 Management is kind of helping me out with some things. So Iím really looking forward to seeing what they can come up with. Iíll be out in L.A. for a few weeks at first and then Iíll bounce back to New York. I just canít go back to waiting tables, I can tell you that.
How would you describe this experience?
J. Cotter: Itís surreal. I donít think itís anything you could really describe in words. To know youíre singing on stage in front of 30 million to 40 million people, itís a dream come true. People know me in the street and actually, Iíve been pretty much isolated. Iím really looking forward to going home to New York and seeing my friends and family and walking through Times Square and seeing how many people notice me.
Would you do it again?
J. Cotter: I would definitely do it again.
Continuing on where you were a second ago, talking about just before you got on this show, were you waiting tables full-time? Were you doing some singing somewhere, too?
J. Cotter: No, I was just waiting there part-time to pay the bills, but I was still gigging and modeling and doing everything I could to get noticed. American Idol was just another audition for me. It really worked out.
What do you see? You mostly have been singing solo until then. If you do go to singing, whatís the next thing you do? Do you work up a club act? Do you look for a band? How do you take it to the next step?
J. Cotter: You know, I have a lot of songs recorded. I put out an independent release last year that did well on the independent circuit. Iíll just keep striving to do it independently until a label notices me.
Your Stevie Wonder song that you sang on Tuesday night, was that a first choice song for you, or was it farther down your list?
J. Cotter It actually wasnít on my list at all at first. I actually had heard Elliot sing it and I fell in love with it. I thought it was going to be a great song for me. I think it still is a good song for me. The voting last night did not reflect what this contest should be.
I agree. Do you in retrospect wish you had picked a different song, maybe something that related more to the viewers?
J. Cotter Thank you so much. I donít know. Itís a Stevie Wonder song, you know? Itís slow in the middle. I got to do my lady thing and have fun, of course. I donít think it was the song. I really couldnít tell you. I think Simonís comments really killed me. Paula didnít have my back either last week. I think those comments were definitely unwarranted. Those comments took me by surprise just as much as me getting voted off.
Well, when Sundance was told that he was going home that night, even the judges did seem disappointed. They were really very vocal about it. What do you think about Sanjaya making it to the top 12?
J. Cotter: Sanjaya making it to the top 12 is a great thing for him. I think the voting judges where people land and thatís just where he landed.
What are you going to miss most about Idol?
J. Cotter: Iím going to miss most the celebrity that you gain by doing this show. Itís instant and itís a lot of fun. Iím just going to miss everybody.
At the beginning of the season, there as a lot of talk about the judges being crueler this year. As someone who has followed this show for a while like yourself, do you feel like thereís any truth to that?
J. Cotter: I honestly have never seen the show before this season, so I couldnít even really comment on that. American Idol is a real new thing to me, so I was taking each day as it went along. From what I do know of the show, Randy was a lot harsher this season. I know Paula didnít show me as much love as I thought she was going to, but itís all good, man.
Randy has that thing where he always says, ďYou shouldnít even try Stevie, you shouldnít try Whitney. You shouldnít try ÖĒ or whatever. Do you agree with that?
J. Cotter: I donít agree with that. What are the songs there for, you know what Iím saying? What are they on the list for? The fact is that whatís good about those songs is that nobody is going to do it the same. Iím not going to do it like Stevie did it. I tried, but Iím not Stevie Wonder, you know? Iím me. I put my own different twist to it. As much as he said that I didnít have any originality, I really feel like if he did his homework and went and looked at the videotape, that I did.
Do you think that over the years, thereís no longer a stigma attached to people who come out of American Idol and try to launch their career from that?
J. Cotter: Could you say that again, man? Iím sorry.
When Idol first started, there was a stigma attached to theyíre trying to launch their career from this TV show. Do you think thatís sort of gone away with all the success the shows had?
J. Cotter: No, I donít think so at all. I think a lot of people look at American Idol as a jumping board for their career. I know that going, in I was like well, even if I donít win, if I make it far enough I can kind of spring it off to something really big. That was one of the main reasons I decided to audition.
I was just wondering who you were looking forward to working with the most of all of the guests that were coming on.
J. Cotter: I was really looking forward to working with Quincy Jones.
J. Cotter: Yes. Heís a legend, a musical genius. I was really looking forward to seeing what kind of comments heíd have for me, some criticisms and just learning from him. He was actually in the audience a few weeks ago.
J. Cotter: I jumped off the stage right after the show and I went to meet him. Itís amazing. Heís Quincy Jones, you know?
I guess in that respect, you got something good out of the show when it comes to that, right?
J. Cotter: You know what? I got a lot of good things out of this show. I mean, I know sometimes, it sounds like Iím probably bad mouthing the experience, but you know what? This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I wouldnít trade it for the world. Iíve had such a great time. Iíve made such great friends. I consider some of these people lifelong friends. I couldnít trade that for the world.
Iím from New York, itís 15 degrees. Iím in L.A. right now, Iím outside in a t-shirt. Iím cool.
This is kind of going off the last question you just answered with Quincy Jones. Were you guys given a schedule of what each theme was going to be for the next 12 weeks?
J. Cotter: No, no. American Idol is very need-to-know basis. As long as you donít need to know, you will not know. Obviously, we know next week, everybody knows next week is Diana Ross week, so Diana will be there. After that, nobody knows.
From talking with some of the past Idol contestants, they were talking about some of the close relationships they made with some of the other contestants. It seemed like it was a pretty close-knit group of people. Did you establish any really good relationships with anybody throughout the process?
J. Cotter I sure did. Well, myself and Paul Kim, although he got voted off the first week, we were roommates since Hollywood, so weíre very close. I talk to him all the time. Surprisingly after Paul left, Sundance and I became roommates. In the two weeks that we did get to stay together, we got really close. It was a real mismatch. We didnít know it would work out the way it did, but heís a great guy, a family man, and just a wonderful person. Iím glad to know him.
I just wanted to Ö when you spot Quincy Jones, the show finishes, you jumped off the stage and went right over and said hello and introduced yourself right away.
J. Cotter: Yes, he was in the front row and I was like you know what? This is Quincy Jones. I may never get to meet him again.
Yes. Go ahead.
J. Cotter: Itís cool. I just jumped off the stage and gave him my hand. He told me, ďMan, I really dig you.Ē I was like, ďThanks, Mr. Jones. I really appreciate that.Ē It took me back for a second. I just told him what an honor it was to meet him.
Some of the emotions that weíve seen on stage in the last couple of weeks, does it get really insular, just put in a hotel secluded from the world, probably all these PR events? There are two things Iím wondering. One, what is it like to be in that closed-off environment and does it really play with your nerves? The second thing is, how much time do you even have to focus on your music with all of the other mania surrounding the show?
J. Cotter: I think because we are so closed-off is how we do get to focus on the music. They prepare us very well for how weíre to perform. We rehearse all the time. Honestly, because weíre so closed off, also we become very close. Weíve been here for about a month or so.
J. Cotter: I havenít gone out anywhere. Itís just been us.
J. Cotter: We get very close, but itís cool. Youíre here for a bigger purpose.
Thank you to FOX for allowing us to participate in this media call.