“That moment when an adult stoops down to the 3rd grade level…LOL grow up Hun, I’ve got songs to write. 🙂 #movingforward.”
It was the tweet that earned Devin Velez some post AI critique from the colorful Nicki Minaj after the eliminated posted the above message on his twitter account (which he deleted soon after)
Nicki fired back with the following half lecture half pep talk tweets:
“Be mad @ America when u get sent home,” “The JUDGES are the ones who FOUGHT for America to get the opp to VOTE 4 U!!! #memba?”
Send the judges some flowers and a card. If Curtis [Finch Jr.] didn’t get SAVED, NONE of u get saved! Best male voice of the SEASON!!!!!!!!!!! #TruthTea.”
“Trust me BEW BEW. If EYE didn’t want u in that TOP, YOU wldnt have been in that TOP. Fought for ALL of you. So just simply b gracious.”
“Jennifer Hudson didn’t win!!!! Oscar winner!!! #memba??? ok. Take that exposure and let your light shine.”
Is Devin really frustrated about his elimination? And what are his post AI plans? Here is a transcript of Devin’s exit interview:
AI: I was just wondering, do you think the group song did you in, was it that you were unfairly judged?
D. Velez Not really unfairly. I think that I am a little at fault, though, I didn’t forget my lyrics. I think that when you’re in a group, because one person is representing everyone else, I think it should have been my job as a brother to the other two and we could have maybe discussed learning the lyrics a lot better, just because if we knew that we were going to be so unsure of our lyrics getting on stage, we probably should not have done the song. But what happened happened, and I tried to save the song to the best of my ability, but it wasn’t my job to do so. And I know that, though my solo performance went well, because our group performance was following the solo performance, I know that that’s what America remembered freshly in their minds, as opposed to my solo performance.
AI: There are only two guys left now. Are you ready to concede that a girl’s going to win this year?
D. Velez You know, you can never be sure. I know that the odds are scary right now, but if the guys step it up they do have a chance. I think that all the people that are left, it’s really scary the way this competition is going to go, just because the talent that’s left is amazing. These people, they’re some of the best singers I’ve ever heard.
AI: When are you coming back to Chicago, and when you do are you going to go right back into classes at Rickover, and are you going to continue to work at Starbucks?
D. Velez I’m stopping in New York for a couple of days and then I’m going back home. But when I do get back I’m hoping to go back to school. I’m not sure how that transition’s going to work, just because we did have to sign me out temporarily because I had to miss time for Idol. As for Starbucks, I want to for money reasons, it was my job, that was another passion of mine, but I don’t know how that’s going to work out because it might be a little hard. Now that people know who I am, I’m not just going to be writing caramel macchiato on cups, but I might be signing them and passing them off, and that’s going to get crazy. So I’m debating whether I’m going back to be a barista or not.
AI: Now that you’re off Idol I understand that you want to win Prom King at your military school. How do you go about winning Prom King, and what are your chances and when do they decide?
D. Velez I don’t know, man, it’s difficult. Prom is June 1st, and so I’m kind of hoping that with all this publicity and stuff that I don’t get too busy just because I am still a kid and I still do have my last teenage years ahead of me and I want to live them up. And my dream has always been to just win Prom King, and I won Homecoming King this year while I was still there, before I came to Idol, and I think it’s just, I don’t know, it’s always been my dream. And so if this dream was achievable I don’t think that one’s too far out of reach now that I’m going back home.
AI: And what about your plans for college this fall, do you still want to go to the music college this fall, or is that out of the realm of possibility right now?
D. Velez You know, depending on how the American Idol tour goes, if I have time when I get back. I mean, I can always enroll into college, but I would still love to get my degree in music education there at VanderCook, I think it’s been my dream for the last year and a half, and I keep in contact with those people and I’ve fallen in love with the team there, and the students and the faculty, they’re just really good, and I think I’d learn a lot from that school, so yes, I’m definitely thinking about it.
AI: We’re pretty far into the competition now, which week did you find the most challenging and why?
D. Velez The most challenging, I’d have to say, was when I sang “Temporary Home.” That theme was past Idol songs and, I don’t know, it was interesting just because there were so many song choices and yet I didn’t feel that I could have done any of them justice, as the meanings weren’t that great, and when I heard “Temporary Home” I had an emotional connection with the song meaning. But I don’t think that I had any moments to shine in the song and so that week it was really not that great for me because it was the first week that I was in the bottom two. So I think that was the most challenging.
AI: What critique do you think you’ll remember the most and take away the most from any of the judges or even Jimmy?
D. Velez It’s from all of them, which is stay true to yourself. I think that I’ve been pretty consistent in doing that on the show. I’m the same before the show, I was the same on the show, and I’m going to be the same after the show. Idol hasn’t changed me. I have grown as a person, but I haven’t changed who I am. I think that America fell in love with me for a reason, and I don’t want to change, not just to let them down, but also not to let myself down. I think that you should be proud of who you are and the decisions that you’ve made as a person, and so I can say that I have no regrets on the show and if I could go back and change anything I wouldn’t.
AI: Who are you going to keep in touch with from the show?
D. Velez Oh man, I’d have to say Burnell, Curtis, Angie, Kree, Janelle, Amber, and Candice. Oh wait, that’s all of them. Yes, there’s no way I can narrow it down. These people are my family. We’ve been together for three months. I’ve fallen in love with these people. Almost all of the top five guys, I’ve had them as roommates, and the girls, we’ve gotten closer and closer throughout the weeks. I think that’s the saddest part about leaving the competition isn’t leaving the stage, but it’s leaving your brothers and sisters.
AI: You have such great fans, the Devineers, what would you like to say to them?
D. Velez I’d like to say thanks for the love and support no matter what. I know that everyone was really, really upset when I left home last night, but I just want them to know that as long as I have my Devineers, my God, and the support from my parents, I think that anything is achievable. And I know that I’m going to go far in life, not just because of Idol but because of the great support that I do have.
AI: When you were told to go backstage after the group number, how did you guys deal with that?
D. Velez You know, it was a little difficult, just because right when you get off stage as an artist you’re your worst critic. You’re always thinking about all the negative things that you had during the performance and if you could change things, you’re trying to play it back and changing it in your head. I really was okay. I did feel a little embarrassed just because this far into the competition we shouldn’t be having little mistakes like forgetting the lyrics.
I totally agree with Nicki Minaj when she said that it felt like it was Hollywood Week, but mistakes do happen and the pressure does get to us. We’re still human. But it was a little disappointing just to see that once you’re so far into the competition that that was the mistake that we made. We should just know our lines and know our parts. But what happened, happened and I know that stuff like that shouldn’t happen again. I think that that was a wakeup call for all of us, whether we went home or whether we stayed.
AI: Did you have a feeling that you’d be saved, or did you know the writing was on the wall?
D. Velez I kind of knew the writing was on the wall, man. Nothing of course was definite until the moment of, but even the night prior I was getting this feeling and I was like, all right, now I think I’m going home. And I wasn’t sad about it, I’m still not sad about it now, and it’s weird because people are expecting me to be all mopey and crying, but my thing is making top ten was winning for me, everything after that was falling action. It’s a great accomplishment. Some of the contestants on the show that are still left, they’ve auditioned two or three times and this is my first time auditioning and I’ve made it this far. It’s a great accomplishment and I’m so blessed to have made it this far.
AI: You’ve touched on the trio performance a little bit already, but after you guys performed Burnell said he didn’t want to throw anyone under the bus and you said something like you tried to save a couple of people during the song, it seems like you were both pointing fingers a little at Lazaro, but obviously wanted to be polite and not call him out, so would you mind talking about that a little bit. And also, do you think Nicki actually overreacted a little bit? Do you really think it was as bad as she had suggested?
D. Velez Looking back at the video, I know where Nicki was coming from. I agree with the first half of her critique when she said that it felt like it was Hollywood Week, that it was a joke, that stuff like that should not happen, that she was going to pretend that she didn’t hear it. I agree with that.
AI: But hearing that, yes, it is a little cutting while you’re on stage and it sucks to be up there seeing your team, because we were a team up there, seeing your team get knocked on that hard. But what happened, happened and we’re growing, and I think that it was a great wakeup call. I don’t think that’s going to happen again on the show.
After you sang for the judges save Mariah Carey was egging on the audience yelling out, “Save him, save him,” and Keith Urban was laughing a little bit, and Randy Jackson hesitated for a while before even making the announcement that they weren’t going to save you, what was going through your mind in that exact moment?
D. Velez It wasn’t that tough. Like I said, I think it was already set in stone. I kind of felt like today it was just going to happen. I thought I was going home, and sooner or later we all have to go home, so it was my place to go home yesterday. I think that they’re going to save the save for someone really, really special. Not that I don’t think that I’m special, but with all the talent that’s left if someone is in the bottom two that doesn’t belong there, just because they have one bad song day I think that they should use that save on that person.
Is there any week that you would have chosen to do a different song for any reason, looking back now?
D. Velez No. Even the week that I first was in the bottom two when I sang “Temporary Home,” though I didn’t have any moments to shine vocal wise I’ve always had a personal connection with that song, and so I’m a firm believer in staying true to who you are and I think that I make decisions as an artist and I think them through before I make them, so the fact that I’ve gotten to where I’ve gotten, it was my doing and no one else’s and I wouldn’t go back and change anything.
AI: This was the first time you ever tried out for Idol, now, having gone through the whole experience, was there anything that really surprised you about Idol that you didn’t think would happen?
D. Velez Yes, see, I think that looking back at the show, after watching every episode of every season, when you see top ten you see the photo shoot, then you see the commercials and you’re just like, man, these people are just rolling in money and they’re sleeping in and getting room service, and the biggest wakeup call was we get no sleep, call times are super early and we have to go through hair and makeup, and dress rehearsals, and run throughs, and press, and our schedules are really, really tight. And so one of the things I’m taking away from this is a lot more respect for people that work on television programs like this, just because, I mean, they work so hard to make us look good and it just looks so nice and sweet on the TVs but there’s a lot of effort that goes into it.
AI: What about the summer tour, have you ever seen an Idol summer tour before?
D. Velez I haven’t been one to one of the tours in all 12 seasons, but you know what, I am so excited to do it, man. I think it’s every performer’s dream to do that, to perform across the country and have fans shouting out your name and singing with the people you love. I think what I’m looking forward to most is that I’m going to be singing with the same people that I was a couple of weeks ago, except we’re not competing in a competition. So the fact that we’re going to just be able to sing and not have anybody go home, we’re going to still be together, I think that’s going to be the greatest experience ever.
AI: Everyone’s been declaring this season a girl’s to win, and there’s just been so much talk about how fantastic they are. Do you think that has a direct correlation to why the remaining three guys all ended up in the bottom three last night, or just a coincidence?
D. Velez Oh, there’s an explanation for that. Of course I can’t speak so much on it just because I’m not America, I don’t know who votes for what, but I do know that though the judges aren’t voting, I know that their critiques do have a very big influence on America’s votes. But as for the guys being in the bottom three last night, I think that our group performance is what put us there and I think it was well deserved. I think that we weren’t prepared and we went up there and it was unprofessional, and so because of that we were in the bottom three. And I wouldn’t change that for anything, just because I don’t want to be treated unfairly, and the fact that we weren’t prepared showed that that’s how serious it can be, where you can go home. But, yes, the girls they have power, man. They’ve been consistent with their performances and the vocals just because, I mean, none of them have gone home yet. That’s crazy. But they’re fighting strong.
AI: Jimmy Iovine said he believed the judges were being too nice and easy on the contestants, and this week viewers have noted that Nicki seemed especially aggressive and critical in her commentary. Do you think Nicki’s behavior Wednesday night was a result of Jimmy’s complaint, that maybe she was trying to be a little harder on you guys?
D. Velez It could have been. You never know what you’re going to get with Nicki Minaj. But I know that I love her as a judge and I love that she’s always truthful.
AI: When you got eliminated and when you originally landed in the bottom three Mariah Carey was especially emotional and she cried during your “save me” song and everything. What was your relationship like with her, I guess? Were you very close to her?
D. Velez Do you know, our time with the judges, it’s not much. It’s a little bit during rehearsals and maybe backstage before we go on, but it’s not like we get to sit down and talk. But after I got voted off last night, I actually had a conversation with her and hearing things like, she was saying things like that she was so proud to see the artist that I have been becoming and that if nothing works out that later on down the road that she would love to contact me. Hearing things like that from Mariah Carey, it’s crazy because she is so huge, it’s crazy how big this woman is in the industry, and so hearing that was a little reassuring and I’m a little more at peace just because if nothing happens I know that I always have that to fall back on.
AI: Did you get any advice or have any conversations similar to that with Nicki, Keith, and Randy?
D. Velez Nicki might have had to step away earlier because I didn’t get to say bye to her, she had prior engagements. But Keith gave me a big old bear hug, and he was just being Keith and I love him, and he said that he was sad that I had to go, and he said to keep going and that no matter what we were still one of his idols, that I was an idol in their eyes. And Randy said the same thing that Mariah did, where if nothing happens that they would love to contact me sometime down the road, just because I had true talent. So hearing that from such great people, it makes you feel good as an artist but also as a person, and so, yes, I enjoyed every moment of it last night.
AI: What is your message to your fans?
D. Velez Yes, I want to say thank you guys for having me. The fact that I’m leaving the show doesn’t mean that this is the end of Devin, and I’ve spoken about this before, I’m not changing who I am for America, I’m not changing who I am for family or friends, and I’m not changing who I am unless I want to change, and right now I don’t. I think that America fell in love with me for a reason and I’m going to continue to give them 100%. So whatever life brings, just as long as I have my Devineers out there and my God, I think everything’s going to be all right. So thank you guys for this awesome opportunity and keep voting for me in life. Just support me in life. That’s all that I ask.