Northwestern’s own John Park was eliminated from American Idol last week along with former Idol contestants Haeley Vaughn, Michelle Delamor and Jermaine Sellers. He participated in a conference call with NBN to talk about his elimination, Simon Cowell’s harsh comments and his future plans (which include “definitely” heading back to Purple Haze).
What would you say was your most memorable experience from the show?
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.
Simon made his comment that your a capella group was going to get its lead singer back. Did you think it was unnecessary? There’s a difference between giving feedback and criticism and then just being downright mean.
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 don’t really mind because I understand like where he’s coming from. That’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 he’s not that mean a guy actually.
If you had made it to next week, what were you planning on performing?
I was thinking either a Stevie Wonder song or — 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 didn’t get as far as choosing a song.
What was the nicest and the meanest thing that any of the judges said to you?
Let’s see. I mean, the meanest thing, I think, they said was — I mean, Simon said that I was going to go home and it came true. But that was as blunt as it could get. 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.
If you were to release an album, what would you classify yourself as?
I think it would be, if you were to — 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.
What are your plans now?
Well, I’m going to head back to Chicago and see what kind of open doors there will be for me. Just kind of wait it out and probably go back to school this upcoming quarter, which is happening in about two weeks. So I’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.
Any closing remarks?
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 I’ve come out so much more confident and I like, I’ve never believed in myself this much. Just meeting all these incredible people and talented people and working with them every day has really been like a dream.
It’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, I’ll most likely study something that’s going to be more relevant to the music industry.
Even if it’s not performing, I would like to have a career in the music industry, whether it’s management or songwriting and whatnot. I just want to thank everyone for their support and their kind words while I was on the show. And even now, when I’m off the show, it’s just people supporting me. I just want to say thank you.
John Park will be performing with Purple Haze in their show “Too Much A Capella Makes the Baby Go Deaf” on Friday, March 12th at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. in the Jones Great Room.