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American Idol

American Idol’s Paul Jolley Talks Country Music — and Ryan Seacrest’s Breakup!

Paul Jolley wants to become the male Carrie Underwood, but American Idol 2013 judge Mariah Carey says she could see the Season 12 Top 9 contestant cutting a dance record! The country-loving singer took on “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles last night to mixed results. Nicki Minaj thought his choice was too safe, and Keith Urban said he didn’t feel like Paul connected emotionally with the song.

In a post-performance red carpet chat with the media, Paul Jolley talked about staying true to his country roots on American Idol, and shared how host Ryan Seacrest has been holding up since his breakup with longtime girlfriend Julianne Hough!

Q: Keith said you didn’t connect with the song but it looked like you felt you did. Tell us about that.

A: Ultimately I’m going to start telling myself if I feel good about it, that’s all that matters. Because you know what, I highly respect their opinions but I have to keep my own confidence up and bring it every week, and I feel like I did so that’s all that matters and I hope that the voters see that as well, and see it shine through.

What did you think of Mariah saying you should record a dance album?

You know what, I respect her saying that but I want to stay to my roots. I was born and raised in the country. I was born and raised on stories, and that’s what I relate to most. I don’t want to go and sing about this random stuff — let’s go to the party and dance and go have a beer. That’s not me, that’s what most of that is. That’s what I love about country. That’s why I said I looked at the lyrics before I looked at anything else because that’s where a song starts and that’s why I want to stay with country music.

But country music has plenty of songs about drinking beer!

Yes, but what I grew up on is older country and a lot of it doesn’t relate to that. That’s why I’m saying I want to be the male version of Carrie Underwood because all of her songs are not like that.

They’re about slashing tires and killing people!

But that’s one out of how many?

The genres/theme weeks seem a little tired, not many people knew the Beatles’ back catalog.

I love the Beatles. I grew up on the Beatles. Ultimately, we had like 20 songs to choose from on a list and that’s the one that spoke to me the most and that’s the one I ultimately went with. We have a day to decide, so.

What if they shook it up and threw in hip hop week.

I don’t know. I’m waiting for that, since that’s what they’re wanting! We’ll see. I’m okay with anything as long as I’m staying true to myself. That’s all that matters.

Since you’re one of the few who know them, what’s your favorite Beatles album?

Oh my, I don’t have a favorite. I like a bunch of different ones. Like Keith said, every one of them was his favorite!

You picked one of the more iconic ones, do you feel like you had a little more pressure since you’re one of the few who actually knows the songs?

No, actually, I feel like I had just as much pressure as the others, because we were all given the same amount of time. We were all given the same criteria to go by and I think what matters is we do the best we can with what we have.

How is Seacrest coping with his breakup?

I mean I didn’t know about that. He seemed okay to me! He seemed great. He was nice, just as he always is.

Your house looked amazing. How long ago did you guys do that?

I think it’s been there 11 years now. It was a lot of hard work because all of the wood and everything was cut from the farm. That’s all work that we did. We didn’t have people come in and do that for us. It’s nice to know that we can call that home, that place to go back to.

Will that always be home?

Yes, my parents better not sell it!

03.22.2013 / 12:31 AM EDT by Lindsey Jordahl
Related: American Idol, Ryan Seacrest, American Idol Season 12, Paul Jolley

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