The guy who made Mariah Carey cry when he auditioned for American Idol last summer said he sorta knew his time on the show was coming to an end Thursday night.
“Honestly, I had a feeling in my stomach and my bones the whole week,” Burnell Taylor, 19, said Friday afternoon in a conference call with the media. “I guess it was just a sign from God trying to prepare me.”
And, no, he said he didn’t expect the judges to save him as he launched into his save-me song, “Ready for Love.”
“That was already established,” he said, though he never elaborated.
But he apparently wasn’t referring to a comment Nicki Minaj made a week ago on Twitter.
After Devin Velez made a couple of unflattering remarks about her in his exit interview last week, Nicki went on a bit of a Twitter tirade, saying that if Curtis Finch wasn’t saved in week one, she wasn’t voting to save any of the Idol guys.
Burnell claimed he wasn’t even aware of the widely reported comment and said: “I love Nicki and she loves me. None of that really matters … I don’t let that get in between the relationship I have with her.”
He said the save-me song was less about getting saved than about leaving his mark on the show.
As for the kiss on the cheek he gave Amber Holcomb at the end …
“I don’t think she knew that was coming,” Burnell said. “Nobody did. “I really like Amber. We’re just learning more about each other right now. We really like each other.”
And there were a lot of tears upon Burnell’s exit. He admitted he even broke down himself after the cameras went dark.
“I was telling them, ‘Don’t cry, don’t cry. This is not the end,’” he said of his fellow contestants. “I never knew how much they really cared. To see they were extra genuine touched me. So I had to show love and break down too.”
Among Burnell’s other comments during the exit interview:
* He says the most surprising thing about Idol was discovering he couldn’t sing whatever songs he wanted to, a perception he’d been left with by watching the show. “It’s not like that,” he said.
* Burnell said he was terrified the first time he met Jimmy Iovine. But he said Jimmy is like Nicki, if you’re looking for pure honesty, that’s where you go. And Burnell said critiques from Jimmy carry weight because he knows what he’s talking about.
* He’s looking forward to traveling on tour. Except for traveling to Los Angeles for the show, he says he’s spent most of his life in his hometown of New Orleans.
* He says John Legend is one of his inspirations. “As far as making music like him, I feel there’s already one John. I want to make music no one has ever heard before.”
* Once he gets back home, he’s heading straight to the gym, because he gained 10 pounds back during the course of the show after losing considerable weight between the time he auditioned and the Vegas round. After that, he wants to start writing music. It’s something he used to do, but got away from, Burnell said.
* As for his widely-panned rock night performance of “You Give Love a Bad Name,” Burnell said, “I had the time of my life performing that song. The fact that I performed a rock song on live TV … if someone had told me I’d do that, I wouldn’t have believed them.” He said he was proud of the performance because he knew the work that went into it.