“I absolutely knew I was going home tonight. I knew it in my heart 100 percent,” he said after the show. “Everybody else got mostly positive feedback and I didn’t.”
He gave one last attempt at the judges’ save with Heart’s “Alone.” Still, his sentimental song wasn’t enough to keep him in the competition.
“Keith Urban was the first one to sprint out of his chair and give me a hug and that meant a lot to me because he has been my idol ever since I was a little kid,” he says. “He told me to never give up and keep pushing through, because I’m very talented.”
Paul has showcased strong vocal performances throughout the competition, but judges consistently commented on his lack of “connection.”
“I’ve been hurt a lot. If you’ve watched the show you’ve noticed that pretty much every time they have put me down and put me down and put me down, but I’ve pushed through,” he says. “They have been saying that all along that I don’t have connection, but I had that connection. If they don’t see it, I’m sorry but I connected with it. I feel like I can only do so much as an artist when you’re being pulled so many different ways.”
Paul also takes issue with the judge’s constant critique that he should transition into a pop performer. Mariah Carey made that suggestion more than once.
“I respect her opinion. I love her dearly, but ultimately I’m gonna stick to the country pop thing, because that’s what I want to do,” he says. “I want to stick to my roots. Country is where I was born and raised. I grew up on this music and I’m not gonna turn away from it.”
While he understands their push toward pop, he says that switch would be phony. “I love pop. I love to dance and have a good time and dance, alone in my room by myself,” he admits. “But, I’m gonna stick to country pop because that’s where my heart is and that’s where I fit into the industry the best.”
According to Jimmy Iovine, Paul’s song selection was a fatal mistake. “I respect his opinion 100 percent, I’ve always looked up to Jimmy and I respect everything he said, but I still stand behind everything I’ve done up to this point,” he says. “I might have made a bad decision once or twice, but I don’t regret it.”
Despite his heartache, Paul says there are plenty of things he will miss about his time on the Idol stage, mainly his fellow contenders. “Everyone is special in their own ways. I grew very close to them and they mean a lot to me,” he says.
“We’re like family. I’m emotionally attached now. We’re going on tour together so if they don’t keep in touch, they’ll be in trouble!”
Paul will join the rest of the finalists for the post-season Idols Live! Tour. Until then, his sights are set on pursuing his musical dreams. “This is my platform and I’ve made a stamp on it,” he says. “After Idol, however many years later, I’m gonna be remembered no matter what, from this point on.”
Do you think the judges should have saved Paul?