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The Telefile
Aaron Kelly: Country Music Fan, Harry Connick Jr. <I>Super</i> Fan

Aaron Kelly is a sweet boy with a mom-loving heart of gold, but it was pretty surprising that he made it to the American Idol Top 5 this year. He was eliminated as soon as he got there, though, and was then forced by Fox to field inane conference call questions about how he's best friends with everyone and how American Idol is just the best experience ever. To his credit, however, he gives as inanely as he gets. Here are the answers from that call that circle the realm of interesting but don't quite get there.

After all their critiques and advice, what do you believe the judges wanted from you?
Aaron Kelly: Well, I think the judges wanted to see a little charisma -- I got my confidence up and I was having a good time, I just needed to believe a little bit more. But, I felt the further went into this competition, the more I was gaining with my confidence and charisma and everything. I was still learning to add all the extra things to my performances.

What's your response to the people who say Idol doesn't have good contestants this year?
AK: Well, it seems like they say that every year. And these are all talented people. We're all working very hard up there. When people watch the show, they think that we just go up there and sing, but there's a lot more behind the scenes that we have to go through. It's very difficult singing a song or a genre that you're not very comfortable with, so it's a very difficult task. But, we're all doing it pretty well, I think.

Who was your favorite mentor this season?
AK: My favorite mentor was Harry Connick, Jr. He worked with us on such a personal level. He did all the arrangements, and he worked really hard in making sure that we all shone on our performance night. And just to have a mentor that cares so much and is such an iconic figure... Harry Connick, Jr.: He's incredible. It was such an honor getting to share the stage with him, and I felt really privileged to have him as a mentor.

Could you see him maybe being a possible replacement for Simon Cowell?
AK: Actually, we were talking about that a little bit today. He would be a great replacement for Simon. He's very honest, and he's going to tell you straight out. I think Harry Connick would fit the bill perfectly.

What was your mom's reaction when you dedicated the Shania Twain song to her?
AK: She did cry, actually, because she's just very proud of me. She wasn't actually in the audience that night, but I don't think she knew that I was going to dedicate the song to her. I know that she was very, very proud of her young man. She was there for rehearsal, too. She had no idea I was going to dedicate it to her.

The judges seemed to be pushing you to do more country music, but you didn't come across as an obvious country artist. What are you feelings towards country music?
AK: Actually, country music is what I've grown up listening to, and it's what I feel I fit most comfortably with, really. The people that inspire me most are Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban. They have such great honest music, and I have a great time performing country music. I see myself, hopefully, going down that road.

Will you miss Aaron Kelly? Leave your Idol thoughts in the comments.

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