Credit: Michael Becker/FOX Photo: Stefano Langone Dances Around on April 20, 2011

Last night, 22-year-old Stefano Langone became the seventh contestant eliminated from Season 10 of American Idol. The fast-talking Wild Card contestant with big plans spoke to reporters today about his friendship with James Durbin, his “wide open market,” and why he didn’t really care about winning, anyway.

On his obvious shock at Pia’s elimination:

Stefano Langone: Well, me and Pia we really had a close bond and I was really pulling for her and I know how bad she really wanted it... when I came out for American Idol, I never really wanted to be ‘the American Idol,’ it was getting the foot in the door in the music industry and taking a step forward in that way. I knew how bad Pia wanted to be ‘the American Idol’ and I almost wanted it for her more than me, but when everything was said and done, it worked out for the best for her. I’m very proud of her, she’s gonna do work. But it was very shocking, it was a shocking moment for the whole world.

On how music has energized his life:

It’s hard to really show your chops on the show. Casey really got to show his musicianship; one thing I wanted to save and keep close to myself is my original music and my piano-playing, that’s something that I want to really bring out and show the world... I grew up playing instruments all my life and I found out I could sing in band, ironically, and really just spun off from there. I love music, I live and breathe it, I write so much, and I cannot wait to start getting some collaborations down and really working. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from people in the industry and they have a market for me that’s wide open. So I’m really excited and I know that I’ll be doing very well after this.

On his multiple appearances in the bottom three:

You know what, I got to seven, lucky number seven, and it doesn’t really reflect on who I am as a musician or a performer at all. It’s a show, and that’s one thing you’ve gotta remember during this process, is that it’s a show. Now it’s time for me to really move forward and become that footprint that I know I can put on this industry. Like I said earlier, there’s a wide-open crowd and market right now and I’m ready to pounce on it.

On The Durbz yanking him off his feet last night in a tearful bear hug:

James is a little crybaby! [Laughs] James is my brother, man, we’ve been roommates since we were in Hollywood. He’s a brother to me. I’m gonna be his best man at his wedding, and I love him dearly, he loves me and y’know, he lost it last night, he was a wreck. But I just told him to stay focused, don’t even worry about me, I’m gonna be fine... So yeah, I was a little caught off guard, but I knew it was James right when he hit me. We’re brothers for life.

On Casey’s kiss with J.Lo:

That’s cool for Casey, I’m glad. Probably the first kiss he’s had in a long time so I ain’t mad at him!

On the grueling Idol schedule:

You know, it’s funny — we were seven days a week, every day, we never had a day off, and really that’s the industry, that’s the business, and that’s everything we wanted. It’s such a cool experience... I mean, if you get 4 or 5 hours of sleep, that’s hot, that’s good stuff right there! It’s star school, preparing you for what you’ve gotta do, and it’s really prepared us for what to come, and that’s invaluable, it’s so amazing.

On who he thinks his fanbase is:

I really think the fanbase, when I start doing my music, is fans of music! If you really appreciate — and it’s hard because I haven’t gone and done my original stuff, I haven’t gotten behind the piano and shown vocally what I’m capable of. I did a lot of my performances, you know, standing up and getting down or whatever, but I can also perform behind a piano and really show my voice in a different tone; that John Legend, Stevie Wonder kind of thing. And you know what, it’s cool because there’s that Bruno Mars thing that’s going on right now... that’s one thing that I’m really gonna try and get into and make a mark.

On his Wild Card performance of Smokie Norful’s “I Need You Now”:

I am a spiritual man, and at that moment in time I needed everything! I needed to shine, I needed to let Him shine through me with everything that I had, and He had, and it was really a moment where I really was pleading, ‘I need Him now,’ and it was a really special moment for me, it was a special moment for the people watching and it reflected — I got to number seven and I’m so blessed for that.

On whether he was surprised by anything he encountered during his Idol experience:

If you’re gonna be in this industry, you can’t be ignorant. The one thing you have to understand is that it’s cutthroat... knowing that coming in, I don’t think I was surprised or taken aback at all. I’m too positive of a person to really get affected by anything like that. Everything that’s happened to me has lead to me to this moment, everything that’s gonna happen after this will be because I’m gonna be busting my butt and working and hustling and doing what I’ve gotta do to get to that next level. There’s nothing that’s gonna get in my way.

On what qualities he has that will allow him to succeed despite not winning:

The first thing is timing, everything is timing in this world, and right now there’s a market for what I do and what I can do, and the producers know it, my management knows it, and I know it. I’m ready to pounce on it; I’m ready to attack. I didn’t get the opportunity to really show who i was on the show... as far as a musician and as a performer, I wasn’t able to really showcase everything that I had. Partially because I chose to do it that way, and partially because, you know, when you’re going up there singing covers for a minute-thirty it’s kinda hard to show what you got. But I have taken in everything, I realize it is a show, and it hasn’t hurt me or affected me as far as knowing what I can do in the industry, and that’s number one. I’m going in a different direction that any American Idol really has, doing collaborations with rappers, getting in the game quick and having that swag that will get me further. I have the resilience and the I have willpower and the fight that will get me far in this industry and I’m ready to go right now, man.

On why he chose not to play piano on the show:

A lot of my decision-making was based on what i want to do after this. a lot of the songs i picked were not necessarily the best songs for the show, but were songs showing the people who I’m gonna end up working with after this who I am as a musician, who I am as a singer. And when I get on that piano, I don’t want to be remembered as getting on the piano and having 20 million-plus people see me on the piano doing a cover. I want people to see me sitting on the piano singing my songs; singing my heartfelt real songs that came from my soul. I wanted to save that moment for myself. There’s so much scrutiny and so much judgement on what we do, everything, every song, everything, and I don’t want that to have anything to do with that part of my musicianship... You gotta just remember, it’s a show. And when I’m off the show — which I am now — I’m gonna really show the world not just what I can do on American Idol, but in the music industry, what kind of impact I can make.