Jermaine Sellers got some pretty harsh feedback from the "American Idol" judges for his semifinal performances, but said he was convinced that his faith would carry him through the negativity.
His dream came to an end, however, on Thursday, when he was voted out of the competition, along with John Park, Haeley Vaughn and Michelle Delamor. "In God, there's no failure," the 27-year-old said after his elimination.
So what's next for the Joliet, Illinois, church singer? We caught up with him Friday (March 5) to discuss that and much more.
Q: You were very outspoken about your faith on the show. Do you think your post-singing comments had anything to do with your elimination?
A: Though I hate to say it, yeah, I do. Because sometimes, the camera can make you look more arrogant and diva-ish. Anybody that knows me knows I'm, like, the coolest guy. I like to make people laugh. I honestly do wear a onesie to bed, the whole nine yards. I hate it that I was made out to look like something that I'm not, but it's television. I felt like every night that I went out there, I sang from my heart. And the part that really messed me up the most was that I couldn't focus, because I was so scared about what was going to be said this week as far as me singing so much. I just felt like, the best way to prove a person wrong is by fighting them with God, letting God fight your battles. That's why I kept throwing it out there. A lot of people don't realize that with us making it this far in the competition, we haven't really sat down and took time to thank God for us even making it this far. And without him, we'll fail. That's why I kept having to throw him out there. We don't acknowledge him enough.
Q: The judges obviously liked you enough to put you in the top 24, but then they tore you apart once the semifinals started. How did you take their sudden criticism?
A: I took it the best way that I possibly could. The thing about it is, as an artist, you have to stay true to yourself. And with you staying true to yourself, it's a certain way I sang my entire life, from a child on up. I kept pulling back. I pulled back a lot, because there was a lot more that I could have done. I felt like if I pulled any more back, it would be like I'm basically whispering to them. I'm a church singer.
Q: What was your favorite part about making it so far on "American Idol"?
A: Making it to top 20, it's a blessing. That's the best experience about it, just getting on that platform and being able to, not just sing to people, but to minister to them too. People don't realize that the reason I sang songs like Oleta Adams "Get Here" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" — half of the reason I did "What's Going On" was because I felt like we're not paying attention to what's going on as far as Haiti, as far as Chile. We're not paying attention to it. We're spending time focusing on other stuff when we should be focusing on what's actually going on in the world right now.
Q: If you could go back, would you change your song selections because of the judges' comments?
A: "American Idol" is for teenyboppers. There's a lot of young people and they want to hear more current stuff. They want to hear the Keri Hilson stuff, "Knocks You Down" type stuff. And that's not where my soul is. I'm more of "Let's talk about reality. Let's talk about what's going on right now." When I sang "Get Here," I wasn't just talking about one specific individual; I was talking about peace. I was talking about love, respect, joy. I want all of that to come back to us. Even though I tried to deliver it the best way that I could, I never got my point across because I let fear conquer me.
Download the Video Now