New Interview! Jacob Lusk on His Elimination and Controversial “Mirror” Comment
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American Idol

New Interview! Jacob Lusk on His Elimination and Controversial “Mirror” Comment

Last night, Jacob Lusk, the 23-year-old gospel singer from Compton, was eliminated from American Idol in fifth place. Today, he spoke to reporters about his troubled past, his dream duet partners, and those controversial comments about America not being able to look at themselves in the mirror.

On his lively singout, and whether it helped having the pressure (which Jimmy Iovine said may have been getting to Jacob) off:

Jacob Lusk: I wouldn’t say that the pressure was getting to me. I would say that I was getting a little tired, probably, and I was really just trying to do different things that I thought that he would like, and that America just wanted to see different things. But at the end of the day, I definitely just said I’m gonna give it my all, I’m not gonna hold back’. I didn’t want it to be a sad, crying moment. I said ‘we are not gonna cry, we’re gonna rejoice.’

On whether he can sing higher than he did on Idol, and if he’s broken a glass:

[Laughs] I have sang higher. I have broken a glass, but not with my singing... I’m kinda clumsy. But I have definitely sang a lot higher than that.

On his comments about singing “Man in the Mirror” and America not being able to look at themselves in the mirror:

That comment had nothing to do with me and my vocal performance. I’m not the greatest singer in the world — at least, I don’t feel that I am. That was really more about my song selection, and it was more about what was going on in the world at the same time. The Japan disaster had just happened... for me it was about us all taking an internal glimpse... I was starting with me that night and saying that I was gonna make a change to help save the world. It had nothing to do with my vocal performance, with me being voted in or voted out... It was kinda sensationalized a little bit; a whole lot!

On whether he thought the audience understood where he was coming from musically:

I think a lot of America got it, they got that I was the R&B crooner, soulful gospel guy. A lot of those great R&B singers like Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, got their start in the church. Mariah Carey has a lot of gospel roots. So, I think they got it, and I just didn’t have a great performance on Wednesday and I wasn’t really in my element.

On how tough it is to hear Jimmy Iovine’s negative comments:

It definitely hurts a lot to have someone who’s supposed to be mentoring you, it feels like every time you turn around kind of tearing you down, but you have to remember that you’re not doing it for him, you’re doing it for the people out there in America, they’re the people who are voting. What I do and what I will continue to do is to really give my all and continue to show my heart and do my best to touch people, because that’s what it’s about, touching people with music.

On his difficult past:

My mother and father divorced, and my father died when I was 12 years old. So I’ve been through a lot, I’ve been through a lot of different schools... Being the prideful person I am, I’ve been homeless, I’ve gone without, there were times when I didn’t have any money and didn’t know what I was going to do. Just moments like that, when you really feel like giving up. But I kept going, and I’m here.

New Interview! Jacob Lusk on His Elimination and Controversial “Mirror” Comment
Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images    

On getting his start singing in church, and how that affects his vocal style:

You can’t take gospel singing out of a person. Some of the greatest R&B singers of all time, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey they all do a lot of church, gospel-inspired riffs. Beyonce, church gospel-inspired riffs. Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, they all do that. It’s something you can’t run from — it’s a soul thing, it’s not even necessarily a God or a church or a Christian thing, it’s a soul thing that you just kind of feel and it just oozes out.

On his Hollywood week performance of “God Bless the Child”:

Before the performance it had been a long week. 325 people had been whittled down to about 100 at that point in time. I was tired, I was drained, and a person went up right before me and sang 'God Bless the Child' and killed it, so I was scared — I was shaking in my boots. I don't know if anyone noticed, but I changed one of the lyrics. When I ended, I sang 'God bless the child that's got his own, I need my own...' That's really where I sang it from. I was tired, and I didn't want to go back to my normal life and I had to have my own. I didn't want to struggle anymore. I didn't have to wonder where my next meal was going to come from, or where I was going to live or if I was going to have the money to pay rent. Now I don't have to worry about that ever again.

On dream duet partners for the Idol finale:

I would love to perform with, like, Whitney Houston or Patti LaBelle, maybe Chaka Khan, a little Prince... somebody like that. If we went into gospel, maybe Yolanda Adams. But I want someone who is a big, big big big R&B/Soul singer.

On his future album:

You’re gonna hear some traditional R&B, which I think is missing from the scene... there’s a lot of pop and bubblegum, so that’s what I desire to bring to the table.

On whether he was surprised to be eliminated:

I had expected it... because of the judges’ feedback and my performance this past week. I feel like everyone — I was the only one who wasn’t in his element last week. Everyone else was in their element, and I picked songs that were in my genre that weren’t really my thing, trying to do something different, and this wasn’t the time to do that. I feel that’s why I was voted off. Not because I was horrible or because they didn’t like me or it was a popularity contest, no. Those four people that are there did amazing and they were in their element Wednesday night, and I wasn’t.

On Lauren’s first appearance in the bottom:

To be honest, it’s five of us, so any of us could be in the bottom two or the bottom three, it was only five of us. I think the vote is about split evenly, and it’s such a close race, any one of us could win. Any one of us could’ve gotten sent home last night, it’s that close of a race right now.

On whether he spoke to Jimmy Iovine post-elimination:

I have not spoken to him or seen him after the show. But all is well, I have no complaints. He has an opinion and he’s entitled to them. And I’m no longer a contestant, but all things worked out together. I’m excited and I feel good about where my career is headed.

His closing remarks:

I just want to say thank you to everyone whose supported me, I’ll never take any of it for granted. I’m definitely looking forward to putting out a great record.

05.7.2011 / 01:36 AM EDT by Tracy Fusaro
Related: American Idol, Interviews, Jacob Lusk

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