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Eliminated 'Idol' Paul Jolley on the End of the 'White Guy With Guitar' Era

The 23-year-old singer talks judges' advice and which song (previously performed by Adam Lambert) he wanted to take on for Motown week.

Paul Jolley American Idol portrait L
Michael Becker / Fox
Paul Jolley

With America saying goodbye to Paul Jolley on Thursday night’s elimination episode of American Idol, it begs the question: Is this the end of the White Guy With Guitar era?

“For this show, yes,” says the 23-year old Dresden, Tenn., singer. “But in my eyes, I have already won ”

Jolley is the second male singer shown the door on the Fox singing competition, leaving only three men left standing: Burnell Taylor, Devin Velez and Lazaro Arbos.

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So, do any of the guys have a chance? Jolley seems optimistic about their odds.

“Everybody is so good in their individual ways,” he says. “Everybody has their own genre. It’s basically the battle of the genres [more] than who the better person is.”

How about Arbos, who Jimmy Iovine said had the worst performance of the evening yet remained in the competition?

“Lazaro has a huge following,” says Jolley. “He has an amazing story. Everyone connects to it. I give him good props for that, and I wish him the best of luck.”

As for Jolley’s future, the singer said he wants to do it all: sing, act, become a member of the Grand Ole Opry and design his own clothing line.

“[I want to] dabble in everything and put my Paul Jolley stamp on everything,” he confesses, elaborating on his designing dreams. “It’s always been in my head. This is American Idol, and this is where the spotlight is for this. I think everyone in the industry at some time wants to stretch out, so why not look at the full picture now?”

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In a Friday interview with reporters, Jolley -- still "sleepy" from a full day of interviews that began with a 4 a.m. wakeup call -- discussed his time on the show, his thoughts on the judges’ critiques and what song, previously performed by Adam Lambert, he was planning to sing on Motown night.

On the conflicting judge critiques: “I was kind of confused. Every week it was something new. I appreciated that a lot. I always want that room to grow. There is always room to grow, so if I’m doing something wrong, there is something wrong with them not telling me. I really appreciate them telling me things that I can work on.”

On the Idol learning curve: “There’s a lot going on [on] that stage. We have cameras we have to look for, the red dots we have to follow to make sure we are looking at the right camera, things a lot of the viewers don’t know about. … It’s all new to us. It’s all a learning experience.”

On Iovine saying he “wasn’t ready for primetime": “To each his own. I think I am ready for it, or I wouldn’t be in the top 10 of the competition. I feel he saved me for a reason, so I feel like he knows I have the talent and he knows that I am ready or he wouldn’t have done that for me.”

Did he think there was a chance he might be saved as he performed Heart's “Alone”? “They weren’t going to save me again. I’m glad I got to sing. It makes the last stamp of Paul Jolley. I’d rather sing something that means something to me and leave on a good note.”

Why does it look like he’s been losing weight since he auditioned? Do they feed them in the mansion?: “Sometimes they bring salads, burritos and stuff. Healthy things. I’m really not a health kind of guy. [I eat] cheeseburgers and pizza. My clothes don’t fit the same.”

Did he think Nicki Minaj and the judges were too hard on him?: “I feel like they have been really easy on the other contestants. For some reason, I was the one to be tough on this season. I’m OK with that. I want that critique. I want to grow as an artist. I’m thankful for the critiquing [Minaj] gave me. I wish it would have been a little more that I can take from or learn from. I love her just the same; she put me through the first round as well. Keith Urban gave me better feedback I can learn from and use in my career after Idol.

Is there a modeling career in Jolley’s future? “That’s what the photographers told me. So hopefully I’ll have some side money coming in, because I don’t have none now!”

What song was he planning on singing next week for Motown night? “Tracks of My Tears” by The Miracles.

What is he looking forward to on the American Idols Live tour this summer? “Doing more than one song! I cannot wait until I have my moment with the fans."

Twitter: @Idol_Worship; @Michele Amabile