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American Idol elimination nights are traditionally emotional, with the outgoing contestant dissolving into tears as Ryan Seacrest cues a video montage of their “journey” on the show.
Heejun Han, this season’s resident funnyman, bucked that trend. As a matter of fact, the one tearing up over Han’s dismissal was his new BFF, finalist Phillip Phillips.
“I think he was faking it,” Han, 22, told reporters in a teleconference Friday. “We were best friends since day one and I wish him the best of luck. … He has what it takes and I’m pretty sure he’s going to do well. I didn’t cry because I didn’t want to cry.”
Meanwhile, Han has a question for America: Why is everyone so serious about a singing competition? The New Yorker, who regularly entertained with funny quips and considers his best performance to be his cheeky/rebel/Jimmy Iovine-maligned twist on Billy Joel’s “My Life,” takes a less intense approach to the Fox competition.
“It’s a hunger game, we’re just not killing each other,” joked Han, referencing the hit film about a futuristic reality-show death match. “Why do we have to be so serious? One person is going to survive, so you may as well have fun.” He added: “Stay true to yourself.”
Han’s deadpan humor often confused mentor and Interscope Records chief Iovine, who harshly singled him out as the one artist the label would never sign.
“Regardless of what he said, I don’t really want to work with him anyway,” Han said, adding: “just kidding.”
He continued: “He is the greatest mentor in this industry you could ever ask, supposedly. We have our different perspectives towards life, even the song (choice) itself. I don’t know what’s going to happen but I want to prove him wrong and I want to make him regret saying that.”
Despite his Sanjaya-style antics, Han insisted he took the show seriously, or else he would’ve “never started in the first place, waiting hours and hours in auditions.” He said his talkback to Iovine during rehearsals was a “natural reaction” to the music industry guru’s criticism.
“I’m just an ordinary guy that happens to be No. 9 on American Idol, and you never thought that you would make it and have been doubting yourself your whole life,” he said. “When the biggest producer in this industry, which is Jimmy Iovine, says you’re not going to win this competition and we’re not going to spend a penny on him, he doesn’t deserve it and he’s disrespecting the process, then my reaction has to be automatically, ‘I know, I’m not trying to be a star, just calm down.'”
Steven Tyler also became irritated with Han over the course of the season, chastising the comic-minded singer for his flip attitude.
“I was trying to give a fun time to America. Maybe he took it wrong, but I can’t please everyone,” said Han, noting that he and the judge “hugged it out” after his sincere effort on Donny Hathaway‘s “A Song For You.”
Han, who didn’t exactly click with recent guest mentor Diddy, praised rock songstress Stevie Nicks as his favorite coarch of the season.
“She was well prepared,” he said of her appearance this week, adding that she gave “great advice.”
VIDEO: Top 13 Finalist Red Carpet Interviews
As for his next moves, Han is not opposed to Randy Jackson’s suggestion that he should try acting. He said that the judge approached him after Thursday’s show, saying: “You’re a great singer, but dawg, you have to be in a sitcom.”
And what would that sitcom plot be? Han, who said he’s just a “funny guy that happened to be on American Idol,” would love to do show about an “Asian guy” trying to date a “pretty blonde girl.”
One thing he is not going to do is audition for other rival singing shows such as The X Factor or The Voice, he said, quipping: “I’m not doing any competition anymore except for America’s Next Top Model.”
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