After flubbing the lyrics to a Diana Ross classic, Rogers gets the boot. So why is the former backup singer-turned-former final 12 contestant so damn happy?

By Jessica Shaw
March 15, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Frank Micelotta
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One thing is for certain: Brandon Rogers is never going to forget the lyrics to ”You Can’t Hurry Love” ever again. The 28-year old former backup singer got the boot last night for going blank, but don’t cry for him because Brandon’s too busy laughing at himself. A very chipper Brandon called EW to tell us what really happened.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Brandon, you sound so happy. Why? You just got kicked off the biggest show on TV.
BRANDON ROGERS: I’m in a good mood. I was in a good mood last night. Somebody has to go every week. I’m just so glad I made it to the top 12.

You didn’t look in the slightest bit surprised when Ryan told you that you were out.
I wasn’t. I completely, 100 percent expected it the second they told me I was in the bottom three. I felt like I was going home as soon as I forgot my words. I hadn’t created a big enough fan base to sustain a mistake like that. Even though I never went on stage and made a mess, I never made the correct song choices to really show off my voice either like I did on my first audition. A lot of people were waiting for me to live up to my first audition and when you never return to that top form it’s a disappointment to some people.

Even with Sanjaya standing next to you, you thought you were definitely getting the ax?
Yeah, I really knew. I felt fine with going home, too. I’d gone pretty damn far. I’ll take number 12 any day of the week.

Are you kicking yourself for not choosing better songs all along?
No kicking. This is a family show. I have no regrets. I chose the songs because I love the songs. I probably should have been more concerned with picking songs that showed my voice. I wasn’t thinking like the audience. I was thinking like a singer.

So let’s talk about your big mess-up. How on earth did you forget those lyrics?
I know. And I know that song backwards and forwards. The funny thing is that I can’t even chalk it up to nerves or pressure. I went on stage confident and having fun. When the crowd screamed when I did my little dance I got a little too excited about it. I was like, ”Oh, that’s awesome!” and then ”Wait. I should be singing now.” I enjoyed the moment a little too much. If you look at my face afterwards you can see I was laughing at myself. I tried to smile and keep moving but I knew I missed my line. I really needed to nail it because it was an up-tempo song at the beginning of the show. The first act out has got to kill it. I ended big and I ended well but people don’t remember how well I ended the song. They just remember that I forgot the words.

But Haley also forgot her lyrics and she’s still on the show. What do you make of that?
She was on later in the show. I own that and I don’t feel bad about it. There’s some strange comfort in knowing I went home for a mistake.

Tell me something we didn’t see on-screen about what happened when you worked with Diana Ross.
How absolutely petrified I was up there with her. I. Was. Terrified. I don’t really get star-struck in that way either, but I was so nervous. It was like, this is Diana Ross. Are you kidding me? I suddenly flashed back to Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues and The Wiz. All the songs I grew up loving and I was singing one of the most famous ones in front of her.

Is it really demeaning to hear the judges say week after week that there are two good singers — LaKisha and Melinda — and everyone else is in a lesser league?
The judges are going to have their opinions and say what they’re going to say. They’re really underwhelmed by a lot of the people. A lot of people will disagree with me but having heard these people sing on and off stage I feel like this is the most talented season of Idol ever. This is a bunch of great singers. A lot of people have been thrown under the proverbial bus a little more often than they needed to be.

But is it hard to hear how it’s a two-way competition?
To the people who use that information to step it up a notch, it’s helpful. They say it’s a two-way race so you better catch up.

What were you planning to sing next week for the British Invasion-themed show?
”Whiter Shade of Pale.”

I love that song. Good choice!
Yeah, it would have been the first great song I chose. Oh well, that’s how it goes. The perfect song comes to you right before you go home.

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