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'Idol' exit Q&A: David Hernandez

”I’m not ashamed of anything in my past,” the ousted singer says about reports he was a stripper. Plus: the Beatles song he wanted to sing instead

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American Idol
Ray Mickshaw

American Idol conspiracy, or just a bad song choice? Did David Hernandez go home because of reports that he’s a male stripper? Or did he simply botch his performance of ”I Saw Her Standing There”? David’s not crying foul — he’s too busy asking me to get record producers to call him.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: David, you were the eternal optimist last night. When Ryan told you that you were in the bottom three, you seemed to shrug it off.
DAVID HERNANDEZ:
I really thought that I was going to be in the bottom three — I definitely expected that — but I didn’t think I was going to go home. After everything the judges said about my having brilliant vocals and having one of the best voices of the season? I don’t know. Things happen for a reason.

What reason might this be?
I think there’s another door that’s going to open. There’s something coming up for me that’s going to be big. I’d like to have a major record deal and I’d like to have my album out in the next year. I’d like to do something with Alicia Keys and [producer] David Foster. This can’t be the end for me.

Did you propose a partnership to David Foster last night after the show?
I went up to him and shook his hand and said, ”You’re amazing. I would love one day to work with you.” He’s been one of my biggest idols.

And what did he say?
He was like, ”We’ll see what happens.”

So do you regret choosing ”I Saw Her Standing There”?
I’m a balladeer. But I’d like to think I can do fast songs. I did ”Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” Do I wish I had chosen another song? In retrospect, yeah. But shoulda, coulda, woulda…. What’s that really going to do for me? Positive is the only way to be.

Was it between the song you sang and anything else?
Yeah, between that and ”Got To Get You Into My Life” and ”Let It Be.” ”I Saw Her Standing There” was my third choice. But if two contestants pick the same song, we pull out of a hat. That’s why I say things work out the way they’re supposed to. I didn’t get the song I originally wanted to sing. I was meant to sing this.

On The View this morning, Elisabeth Hasselbeck put the theory out there that perhaps the producers wanted to get rid of you because of all the stripper reports, so they fixed the competition.
Um, well, thank you, Elisabeth, for having my back. I love her to death and I think she’s amazing. I would like to think it’s a legitimate contest. To be honest, everyone has skeletons in their closet. I’m not ashamed of anything in my past. I am fully aware of people’s opinions on stuff like that. The only person I have to answer to is myself and God.

So what did you do after the show last night?
I had a good cry. The journey is over. But a new journey will begin.

Who was your roomie?
Chikezie.

Wow. The two of you did 180s this week. He almost went home last week.
Yeah, we flip-flopped. We talked about it on Tuesday night. Like, you’re only as good as your next performance.

When David Archuleta botched the lyrics to his song, were you cringing off camera?
I gave him a big hug when he got off stage. He’s a really sweet kid. When anybody does bad in that group, we always feel for them. When I got offstage last night, David came up to me and said, ”Don’t worry about it. Your vocals were amazing.”

So you and David are close? Who else did you get tight with?
Definitely David Archuleta and Chikezie and Luke and Asia’h. I just talked to her today.

How’s she doing?
She was like, ”Well, I don’t think you should have gone home.” She’s a feisty little firecracker.

What were you going to sing next week?
I was going to do ”Yesterday.” I was going to have the acoustic guitar player sitting next to me. Maybe I’ll sing it at one of my concerts someday.

Well, best of luck to you.
Hey, can you do me a favor? Can you put it in your article that if there are any record labels out there I am ready to talk?

I will let the world know.