March 11, 2010 10:48 AM by Christine McDow
John Park was sort of the wild card on this season of American Idol.Â He was never a fan favorite, but he was never really an obvious choice to be the next to go home.Â He sat down and talked about his experience on American Idol and where he hopes to go next.Â Do you think it was time for John Park to go home or should he have been around longer?
Question: I just wanted to know from past series of American Idol, who were your idols from the show and what was it that they inspired you?
John Park: My favorite idol winner was Kelly Clarkson and I just vividly remember her finale show when she sang â€œA Moment Like This,â€ and she was crying onstage. It was just an incredible moment for me when I was a kid.
Question: I want to find out what would you say is your most memorable experiences from the show?
John Park: Most memorable is just meeting the other contestants and really becoming good friends and also working with Rickey Minor and the band. I mean, just working with the top of the top crew and band and coaches. It was just incredible, just the whole, just meeting new people and meeting incredible people.
Question: Adding to your previous quote, talk to us about maybe one or two folks that you really clicked with and who you plan on keeping in touch with after all this.
John Park: Well, thatâ€™s kind of hard because I want to keep in touch with a lot of people, but Tyler Grady, who was eliminated last week is someone that I continue to keep in touch with. Also, Casey James, who is currently in the show, and Lee Dewyze, who is also from Chicago so weâ€™ll be keeping in touch, also.
Question: Simon Cowell made his comment that your band was going to get its lead singer back, and I certainly thought that it was unnecessary. And I was wondering if you thought it was unnecessary. Thereâ€™s a difference between giving feedback and criticism and then just being downright mean.
John Park: Well, he is basically saying that I might go home this weekend. He, of course, dramatizes so that people at home watch it and they can get a kick out of it. I mean, I donâ€™t really mind it because I understand like where heâ€™s coming from. Thatâ€™s just how he is on TV and after the elimination happened and I sang my last song, he came up to me and he shook my hand and he said good job for coming this far. And so heâ€™s not that mean a guy actually. Yes.
Question: And then there was a lot of talk of you online as being one of the favorites early on in the early rounds and in Hollywood Week. What do you think happened when you reached the Top 24? Do you think it was song choice, nerves? What do you think happened?
John Park: I think it was mostlyâ€”yes, song choice and nerves. I definitely got distracted by the cameras and the fact that the judges were going to criticize me in front of 30 million people. â€¦I think that kind of took away from my concentration on just singing the song honestly and tryingâ€”I couldnâ€™t do my best to interpret the song my own way.
Question: Iâ€™m curious to know what were you planning on performing next week had you made it?
John Park: I, actually, hadnâ€™t really figured it out yet. But I was thinking either a Stevie Wonder song orâ€”Yes, it was either Stevie Wonder, Marc Broussard, or Britney Spears. I had a long list of songs that I wanted to choose from and try different things with but didnâ€™t get as far as choosing a song.
Question: What are your plans now?
John Park: Well, Iâ€™m going to head back to Chicago and see what kind of open doors there will be for me. And I donâ€™tâ€”just kind of wait it out and probably go back to school this upcoming quarter, which is happening in about two weeks. So Iâ€™ll just take some time off to decompress. And think about is performing really what I want to pursue? And of course, that will change as I get different offers from different people. Yes, so everything is really up in the air. But basically, I want to finish school at some point and pursue music, performance or not performance. Just the music industry.
Question: Back to Purple Haze?
John Park: Yes, definitely.
Question: And what was the nicest and the meanest thing that any of the judges said to you?
John Park: Letâ€™s see. I mean, the meanest thing, I think, they said wasâ€”I mean, Simon said that I was going to go home and it came true. But that was as blunt as it could get. I mean, but all the judges said nice things to me like that I had a great voice and just yes, them validating that I had a great voice. That was just really nice. And after I got eliminated how they told me that I sounded great, that I should be doing this for the rest of my life, and that I do have talent.
Question: Hey, youâ€™re an amazingly grounded person. I love all your answers. Hey, one quick question for you. Last night, you said that you definitely donâ€™t regret pursuing your Idol dream. At what point in the competition do you say to yourself all right, John, Iâ€™ve made it far enough. Iâ€™ll still be happy even if I go home this week.
John Park: Letâ€™s see. I thought that many times really. Because Iâ€™m usually pretty laid back and I usually have a positive outlook on general things. And even during Hollywood week, I wasâ€”After the group audition, I thought I was going to go home because our audition was a train wreck and I told myself, even if I go home today, Iâ€™m going to come out such a stronger person as a better performer, just more confident in general. And there were several moments when I had that thought, during Hollywood week, this week, of course, and yes.
Question: I want to asked you, and Andrew Garcia seemed to have got kind of gotten caught in this trap of everybody really liked the first audition and the Hollywood Week. And once that you got up on the Kodak Stage Theatre, suddenly they were comparing all your performances to those back ones like you havenâ€™t lived up to our expectations.
John Park: I mean, I didnâ€™t reallyâ€”I didnâ€™t necessarily think that my first audition was the best. I thought when I sangâ€”I actually sang God Bless the Child as my first audition during Hollywood week. And I thought that was my best before Top 24. And they didnâ€™t show that on TV. Yes, but I donâ€™t think the judges were necessarily disappointed because I wasnâ€™t living it up to the expectation. I think it was mostlyâ€”I just think I kind of was just too distracted during Top 24. And I donâ€™t think it wasâ€”I donâ€™t know if they had such high expectations for me because even getting into Top 24, I felt that I was one of the people who barely got through.
Question: Well, I think one of the things they kept kind of mentioning again and again is what kind of artist would you be? What, if you were to release an album, what would you classify yourself as?
John Park: I think it would be, if you were toâ€”yes, I think it would be more pop, neo soul, kind of like a John Mayer, John Legend, Gavin DeGraw kind of feel to it.
Question: Well, kind goes along with the other question in that if somebody does want to make an album with you and you just had the opportunity to work with any artist that was out there in the industry right now, who would you choose?
John Park: Oh, boy. This question. I mean, Stevie Wonder is one of my biggest idols Iâ€™ve everâ€”and if I got a chance to work with him, even for a minute, that would be just a dream come true.
Question: John, any closing remarks?
John Park: I am just so, so thankful and really all I have is gratitude. And just thinking about before all of this happened, where I was as a performer, and just a person. I feel like Iâ€™ve come out so much more confident and I like, Iâ€™ve never believed in myself this much. And just meeting all these incredible people and talented people and working with them every day has really been like a dream. And itâ€™s still kind of seems surreal that I went through all of this. But this experience definitely made me realize that I do want to pursue music instead of going back to school and study economics and go in that direction. So when I go back to school, Iâ€™ll most likely study something thatâ€™s going to be more relevant to the music industry. And even if itâ€™s not performing, I would like to have a career in the music industry, whether itâ€™s management or songwriting and whatnot. Yes, and thatâ€™s it. I just want to thank everyone for their support and their kind words while I was on the show. And even now, when Iâ€™m off the show, itâ€™s just people supporting me. I just want to say thank you.