The man had one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and he wanted to be on American Idol? What does he have, a death wish? Former oil rigger Michael Sarver got voted off last week after singing "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," and while he won't be returning to the drilling platform any time soon, he did take some time to do a conference call with inquiring journalists who wanted to talk about Simon Cowell's damning comment the night before his elimination. Plus: Michael's basketball diaries, starring Anoop-dog.
Did you think for a minute that they might have actually saved you Thursday night? Because your second go at the song was better than the first.
Michael Sarver: My second was stronger because I was stronger. I had definitely been dealing with some sickness, and in the performance Wednesday night it unfortunately showed. But I actually didn't think they would save me. I really appreciate the fact that they considered it based on my performance the second night and how they complimented that. It meant a lot to me to, in a sense, redeem myself from suffering through a hard night. They did consider, but I felt like it wasn't going to happen, mostly based on Simon's comments the night before about not really feeling like I could win the show.
Were you at insulted that Simon actually said that? Did it tick you off?
Sarver: You know, it didn't necessarily tick me off, nor did it insult me, but it kind of made me giggle, because he knows better than that. We didn't get there by mistake. We're all very talented. I believe in my talent, and I believe in myself and what I have to offer the music world. I definitely would not have been surprised if I had gone back to the mansion with the guys that night and been on next week.
Do you think that if Simon hadn't essentially ruled you out of the running, that maybe more people might have taken a chance on you?
Sarver: Absolutely. I believe that what the judges say have a huge impact on America. America listens to what they have to say. Number one, they're in those four seats for a reason, and that's because they know what they're talking about. I'm not saying that they always get it right -- and I have to be honest with you, there were a few good points, but I don't think they got it altogether right on me the other night. But the bottom line is that they are smart. They know their stuff.
What do the contestants think of all the back-and-forth between the judges? Because it seems like sometimes they can't stop goofing around. It must be hard to get feedback sometimes.
Sarver: You know personally, number one, I enjoy that, because what people need to understand is this is supposed to be a fun thing. It's supposed to be enjoyable. It's supposed to be the time of our lives, and they help make it that by goofing around, like Simon coloring on Paula's face. That was just absolutely hilarious. It does, indeed, make it complicated sometimes, if you may feel like they're not really listening to you, but overall, the fun that they're having on the show makes everybody smile, and that's what entertainment is all about, bringing a positive light to the TV world.
Kara made a comment the other night that we hadn't had the chance to see what kind of artist that you would be. Do you think you were able to show people that?
Sarver: You know, I actually really do feel like I showed that, number one, I'm not as country as most people thought, and number two, that there's a lot of soul in me. I'm a soul singer, and it doesn't matter if you mix with rock, pop or R&B, they're soul. And I believe I established that, and I believe that I established that I'm the type of artist that will not only work my tail off to do what I do, but that I never give less than 110% when I'm performing.
What kind of album do you see yourself making?
Sarver: It's definitely going to be an R&B pop soul album.
Any artist that you would compare your style to?
Sarver: You know, it's really hard, because there's such a mixture of influences in my life. But I really like the R&B pop style of Justin Timberlake, and it has a lot to do with the way that I write, but all the way across the aisle to Gavin DeGraw and bringing some of that soulful rock, a combination of those kind of things.
Do you write at all, and, if so, what kind of things?
Sarver: Actually, there is something that America does not know so much about me, but they will find out. I'm a serious writer and I've written over 890 songs since the age of 14. There's a lot of stories, a lot of hard-lived life, good-lived life and happiness that I experienced in life all through my music, and I'm going to share it.
Any guy-bonding stories from the mansion?
Sarver: The other night, as a matter of fact, me and Danny and Anoop played a nice little game of basketball for the purpose of some exercise, as kind of letting it all out. It was quite fun. I was horrible, of course, but it was a blast. Anoop can play some ball. But I'll tell you, he's a very intense basketball player, and that makes total sense considering [he goes to] the University of North Carolina, where they love some basketball. When Anoop missed, he did not like it. He would beat himself up until he got it.
What do you think your favorite American Idol moment is going to be looking back?
Sarver: My favorite moment, truthfully, is a brand-new moment, which was Thursday night, when I got to sing on the same exact stage on the same exact night as Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone and Smokey Robinson. What an incredible memory for me, because those guys are no joke in the music business, and I have so much respect for all of them. And to stand on that stage and sing the same night they did was actually a positive note. If I went home, then that meant, "Bummer, I have to sing on the same stage as those guys." So a huge memory for me.
What's your take on Sarver? Honorable discharge, or Simon sucker-punch?
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