Devin Velez, Season 12, Season 12 finals

Devin Velez thinks he was doomed by that group number

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Devin Velez figures he probably paid the price for that dismal group performance Wednesday night.

He took the stage with Burnell Taylor and Lazaro Arbos and they launched into “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).”

Devin Velez with Ryan Seacrest after being eliminated from American Idol Thursday night. (FOX Photo)About two minutes later, after a performance filled with missed cues and blown lyrics, an appalled Nicki Minaj ordered them off the stage.

“Looking back at the video, I know where she was coming from,” Devin said.

“I felt a little embarrassed,” the 18-year-old from Chicago added. “This far into the competition, we shouldn’t have those mistakes. But what happened happened. Nerves get to us. We’re all human.”

And while he says he didn’t forget his lyrics, he doesn’t think the eventual outcome — going home in eighth place — was unfair.

“It should have been my job as a brother to the other two to discuss learning the lyrics better,” he said.

Because the performance came so close to the end of the show, Devin thinks it was fresher in viewers’ mind that the solid solo performances he and the other guys turned in earlier in the show.

And that’s why he thinks all three guys wound up in the bottom three on Thursday’s results show.

As for Nicki ordering the group off stage.

While he said he loves Nicki as a judge, Devin admits his initial reaction was: “Calm down, Ms. Minaj. We’re all human.”

Among Devin’s other comments during a Friday afternoon conference call with the media …

* He considered making the Top 10 a great accomplishment. Anything after that, was just extra he said, noting that this was his first time trying out for the show, unlike some of the remaining contestants like Amber Holcomb, Candice Glover and Janelle Arthur.

* He’s not sure whether he’ll return to his job as a barista at a Starbucks in Chicago, but he does eventually want to pursue his pre-Idol goal of getting a degree from the Vandercook College of Music.

* The toughest Idol week for him was Songs of Past Idols. He said he had trouble making an emotional connection to many of the songs. He wound up singing “Temporary Home,” a song that meant a lot to him, but one that didn’t really allow him to shine vocally, he said.

* He wasn’t surprised the judges didn’t save him Thursday, despite Mariah Carey’s encouragement to do so and the chanting of the crowd. He figures the judges need to hold onto the save in case “someone really special” winds up at the bottom of the voting after one bad performance.

* While the female singers have been amazing and the “odds are pretty scary,” he’s not totally ready to concede that it’s a girl’s year on American Idol. “If the guys step it up, they do have a chance,” he insists.

* He received wonderful words of encouragement from Mariah Carey after Thursday’s show.

* His next goal is to become prom king at Rickover Naval Academy high school back in Chicago later this spring. “My dream has always been to win prom king,” the former homecoming king admitted. “If this (Idol) dream was achievable, I don’t think that’s too far out of reach.”

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