If ever there was an American Idol contestant worth rooting for, it was 19-year-old Jeremy Rosado. With his silky smooth vocals and charming personality, he was a shoo-in for the singing competition's 11th season and despite five previously unsuccessful auditions, the Valrico, Florida native sailed through to this year's Top 24. Once in the Top 13, however, Jeremy ran into trouble after his performance of Stevie Wonder's 'Ribbon In The Sky' failed to rouse enthusiasm from judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson - as well as from the viewing audience. Unfortunately, he fell into the bottom four and was eliminated during Thursday night's live results show.
Jeremy spoke to reporters on Friday about his experience on the show and his plans for the future.
Jimmy Iovine and Steven Tyler both said that you deserved to go home last night. Did that make the elimination harder? "It definitely didn't help, you know? It definitely made me think that I would be the one going home, but at the same time, I had to hope and pray that things would come out in my favour. I'm grateful for the experience I had with the judges and am grateful that they brought me this far. They obviously saw something in me. Last night, Jennifer came up to me and said that she wanted to keep me, which definitely made me feel good."
Jennifer really did seem to take a shine to you. How was your relationship with her? "It was crazy, it was amazing. I will forever be grateful to her for being on my side and trying to hold on to me until the last. But at the same time, I'm grateful for all three judges, as I said before. For there to be 100,000 people and me to get through - I really am so blessed."
Do you plan to stay in touch with her or perhaps have her mentor you as you move forward in your career? "That would be awesome! I haven't heard anything at all, but I love her, first of all, and I will forever be grateful to her for the way she fought for me. It would be awesome in the future for her helping me out in some way, mentoring me or something. It was a huge blessing. Just to think that she saw something in me that was special to her... I honestly think it was just the fact that I wore my heart on my sleeve every time I performed and she felt it. I'm very proud I made it this far."
You were the wildcard addition to the Top 13. Do you feel like you were working on borrowed time because of that? "I don't know. I definitely felt like I had something to prove because I wasn't voted into the Top 13. I was just hoping that what I had done the night before was enough - which wasn't my best, but I don't think it was the worst, either. I know that Jennifer was trying to save me, but I'm not sure what happened between the judges. I'm forever grateful - not only for her for fighting for me, but for the other judges and producers. If it wasn't for all of their votes to get me that far, I wouldn't be here. I didn't think my performance was very strong the other night and that's why they didn't put me through."
Singing Stevie Wonder is such a tall order for one of your first performances. Was that intimidating? "I was scared! It's not easy singing him - no-one will ever be Stevie Wonder, he's one of the greatest of all time. I was just hoping I could do my own thing with the song. Jennifer loved it and Steven did as well, even though Randy didn't so much. I thought it was pretty good for what it was. There were probably things I could have changed, but I don't know what I could have done differently. I sang my heart out, wore my heart on my sleeve and got eliminated. What can you do?"
Did you feel that you should have stayed over Elise though? "I wouldn't compare myself to anyone because I know that everyone there is amazing and they're all my brothers and sisters. I think my performance was enough to still be in the competition - I thought I would still be there today. But when we were standing there on stage, I had a gut feeling that it would be me [that was leaving]. But Elise is amazing and deserves to be there."
You were roommates with Colton and he had great things to say about you. What was your relationship like? "He became my big brother, really. I'm going to miss him so much and all my other brothers and sisters that I met on the show. I love them so much and it'll be the experience I miss about this the most, not being with my family, my fellow contestants."
What do you expect for the future. Are you interested in pursuing acting? "I'm into trying anything, maybe some TV or movies or something, getting a record deal - the big dreams, you know? I'm just hoping that next summer you'll be talking to me and big things will be happening. I know that God has a plan."
Would you try out for other shows like American Idol, like The Voice or X Factor? "No. I think that American Idol was the show I wanted to do for a long time. It's done so much for me. There are two reasons I wouldn't audition for another show - the first one is that they wouldn't take me since I made it this far on this show. Second, I think Idol has done a lot for me and given me a huge head start in my career, so I'm hoping that doors will open just from having this in my life."
What will you do now that you've left? "I have some more press to do this next week - that's it for now. Then I get to go home and be with my family and my church. I hope and pray big things happen."
Who would you like to see win the show? "You know, I can't even pick anyone. I love each and every one of them, they're my brothers and sisters. They're all absolutely amazing in their own rights and deserve to be there. I'm excited to see how it plays out and who will be the winner."
Do you think it hurt you to not be featured as much as some of the other contestants in the earlier stages of the competition? "I think that could have played a part, definitely. At the same time, I can't be upset with the producers for the way it was edited. I may not have been featured in the beginning, but I was on the show and they brought me this far. I'm grateful that I got this far. This is just what was meant to be."
American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox.