This week ''Idol'' says farewell to the oil rig roughneck, who remains cheerful on the day after the vote, with no regrets about his experience and his thoughts firmly set on a future in music

By Jessica Shaw
March 26, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT
Chris Cuffaro / FOX
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After his pretty hideous rendition of ”Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” Michael Sarver probably couldn’t have begged his way into the top nine. But the 27-year-old Texan doesn’t seem to care one bit that he’s off the American Idol rollercoaster. So how exactly does this oil rig roughneck stay so damn happy all the time?

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Michael, you were so classy last night, smiling your way through getting voted off.

MICHAEL SARVER: Well, ma’am, I’ve been through a lot of things in my life at 27 — and actually I’m gonna be 28 tomorrow. I’m very satisfied and very happy with my life. You can enjoy life if you just smile a little bit. I take life serious, but not as serious as some others because I enjoy my experiences. This season I was very true to myself and because of that when it ended I could smile.

When Ryan Seacrest said someone was safe, you pointed to Matt Giraud. Why were you so sure he wouldn’t go home?

There was just no way. He was just genius the night before. I would have been very shocked. We’re all good at what we do, but the previous night he was especially good.

You got sick this week and couldn’t travel to Detroit. What happened?

I was really disappointed. Motown has had a lot of influence in my life — especially with Michael McDonald, who I enjoy and look up to. But I believe it was the right decision. I had the full-blown flu and because I stayed back I’m on the road to recovery.

Megan stayed back too. Did you guys party at Casa Idol?

No, I stayed in bed and rested. I did my best to take full advantage of the time so I could be up to singing. I didn’t get there, but I knew that going in.

Do you wish you sang something else?

No, ma’am. I had a blast singing that song.

Did you think the judges would use their one vote veto on you?

I really didn’t. I will say that after I performed last night there was a consideration. They didn’t just say no, which they’d done with other contestants. I felt fortunate they respected what I did last night.

Did the judges say anything especially meaningful to you after the show?

The judges came straight up on the stage and said a lot of things. The best was Paula telling me, ”You can do anything you want” and Kara saying ”You will record albums.” I really appreciated that.

There are a lot of contestants with children this year. Did you and the other parents on the show bond?

Yes, it’s that common thread that those of us who are parents have. It’s an appreciation for life you can’t have until you have kids. We all shared moments and put our kids on speaker phone for the other parents to hear. It helped a lot. My daughter is 3 and a half, and my son is 2. Maybe my daughter has a little grip on what this was, but really throughout their lives they’ll grow up and understand.

Especially if they want to audition in 12 or so years, when Simon is approaching AARP status.

If American Idol is still around — which wouldn’t shock me — if that’s something they want to do I would support them.

So what now? Back to life as an oil rig roughneck?

No, ma’am. My plans are to step right into what I set out to do, which was not to win American Idol, but to launch a career. Wherever music brings me I will go as long as it’s good for my family.

Too bad. I kind of liked those roughneck jumpsuits.

I didn’t. But after a 12-hour shift on an oil rig, nothing is comfortable.

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