''American Idol'' castoff Ace talks to Jessica Shaw about his fans, how he was ''hung out to dry'' on Queen night, his love life, and more

Those eyes. Those teeth. That hair. American Idol finalist Ace Young may have had the looks of a superstar, but after this week’s show, apparently not the fans. Jessica Shaw had a phone date with the latest reject to clear up questions about Queen, his brother, and, of course, his love life.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Ace, you sound kind of quiet. Were you out partying last night?
ACE YOUNG Don’t let the soft-spokenness fool you. I’ve just done 50 interviews already and I have to perform on the Ellen show, so I’m trying to save my voice.

Your rendition of ”That’s All” was one of your strongest, and then you got voted off. Were you feeling confident when you went into last night’s show?
I felt really good about the performance. For the first time in a long time I received good remarks from judges. And I got to buy my first suit ever. I bought it with my own money and one of my friend’s money.

I thought they give you money for clothes each week.
Yeah, but it was $2,000 suit. What they give us didn’t even cover 25 percent of the cost.

Dolce? Armani?
It was [Alexander] McQueen. I got to get all cleaned up. My grandparents were at the show. My grandpa is 88. My grandma is in her 80s. My parents came out from Colorado. And my brother Ryan is always there. You can’t miss him. He’s the 6-foot-7 one.

Not only can you not miss him, but Ryan has become a mini-celebrity. When I was in the audience last week a fan called out during a commercial break, ”I love you, Ace’s brother!”
Yeah, I remember that. That was funny. Actually the first week or two he was always called ”Ace’s brother.” Then finally people started calling him Ryan. I walked up to him and said, ”Congratulations on your own identity, Ryan.”

Nice brother who shows up every single Tuesday and Wednesday to cheer you on.
Well, we’re the last two of five boys. We’re very close. He went through a big car accident when he was 20 and had to learn how to walk again. I’d come home from high school every day during lunch to be with him. I’d sit next to him and we’d talk. After getting over that and being able to dunk a basketball again, he moved out to California two and a half years ago to be with me. I wouldn’t be here without him.

Back to the show: Even Simon, one of your harshest critics, was nice to you this week! Shocker?
Yeah, he said my performance was charming. Anything positive from him is a backhanded compliment. I was blown away that he said anything nice. Last night was really nice for me because I really thought I was safe. I was standing next to Chris and Paris. We all got praise from the judges. And then when Ryan said we were the bottom three, the first thing that ran through my mind was, ”Wow. I can’t believe Chris is in the bottom three.”

Ryan Seacrest said on the show last night that you two are like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. You really got that close, or are you just writing a screenplay together?
Chris and I are friends for life. I would step in front of a train for him. When it was down to the two of us, if we had to decide between us who would go home, I wouldn’t have let him go.

I have to ask you about the whole Queen debacle from a couple of weeks ago. On the video before you performed ”We Will Rock You,” guitarist Brian May made it sound like he hated you and your singing. But the next day he defended you on his website. Were you upset at how that drama went down?
I didn’t get to see it until I performed that night. What really got me was after I saw it I had to field all these worries from my families and friends. Everyone was curious, like, ”Did you guys get along?” I was like, ”Yeah, we got along great. He called me a genius. It was amazing.” I have to put out much thanks to Brian May for sticking up for me. I respect him and all of Queen so much.

I was sure you’d go home last week after he trashed you on the air.
Yeah, me too. The thing is, we came up with that rendition together. The editing hung me out to dry. It made everyone think Ace is doing something to a classic. I thought I was gone.

Did you have it out with the producers over it?
I didn’t. That’s not up to me. If I did that, what control did I have on the next week’s show? You just have to compete week to week.

Next page: What’s up with Ace’s scar?

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American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

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