American Idol’s Fallen: Heejun Han Speaks
Throughout Season 11 of American Idol, the country got to know and love Heejun Han. From the very beginning during auditions when he showed Jennifer Lopez his nervous tic, to Hollywood Week when he “talked a lot of craps about the Cowboy [Ritchie Law],” to the Top 13 when he asked will.i.am for Fergie’s number, Heejun Han has kept America laughing and voting.
However, last night, America didn’t conjure up enough votes to keep Heejun on Idol. The funny-man spoke to the press about what his experience on Idol was like and what we can expect from him next.
Alex Gonzalez, La Prensa de Houston:
AG: So, quick question. Throughout the show, I’ve heard people call you HEE-Jun or HEY-Jun. What’s the right way to say it?
Heejun Han: It’s actually HEE-Jun.
AG: HEE-Jun, okay.
HH: HEE-Jun. It’s really hard to pronounce if you’re not Asian.
AG: Okay, so HEE-Jun, my first question for you is about your friendship with Phil Phillips. I mean, what is it that made you guys click and become so close? Even back in the days with Ritchie Law, what made ya’ll become friends?
HH: Well I thought this interview was about me, not Phillip…kidding (laughs). Phillip and I had a different perspective towards the competition. He didn’t want it to become a fancy Phillip or anyone like that. He just really really loves music, and he really really wanted to make a career out of it, because he loves the music itself, and I started off this competition to help my kids out. So, our goal was not to become an ultimate, huge, successful mega-superstar, but our goal was really humble, so we got connected, I guess.
AG: Makes sense. And I know on the show someone said that, you know, you being funny — I enjoyed it, I thought you were hilarious, and I voted for you every week — but someone said that you being a funny guy was kind of a defense mechanism. What’s your response to that? How do you feel about that?
HH: I have no idea where they get that out from (laughs). What the heck is defense mechanism? What is that? Let me ask you, I have no idea what that is!
AG: Well I guess what they were trying to say is that you were, like, pretending you weren’t taking it seriously in case you didn’t win, so what do you say to that?
HH: Of course, people do watch lots of drama, NCIS (laughs), but they are just way over-thinking it. I’m just a guy, I’m just a funny guy, who happened to be on American Idol, and I was just being myself throughout the whole competition.
AG: All right, and really quick, what do you see as your next move?
HH: I’m not going to be picky, I’m just going to take any opportunities that are ahead of me. I’m going to be in a sitcom, movies, drama, singing, dancing, anything that’s ahead of me, I’m going to do it.
AG: Well thank you so much, I look forward to seeing more of you.
HH: Thank you.
Todd Betzold with RealityWanted.com:
TB: Hi, Heejun, how are you today?
HH: Hey, what’s up?
TB: Great job. I loved your voice. I loved your personality as well. I was sorry to see you go.
HH: Oh no, don’t say sorry, this is just the beginning.
TB: My first question would be, you were only there one week and you got to see the Idol mansion last night, so what was it like living there with all the other contestants?
HH: You know, the house itself is humongous, I’m talking about the biggest house in this whole world. It literally took me 20 minutes to find my own room. We have our movie theater and everything, and everything was really fantastic and overwhelming, but at the same time ironically I was kind of sad because I was hoping that we could have this kind of circumstance and all the building and the fancy stuff with my kids and that was the one thing that I was kind of sad about, but I had fun.
TB: I guess my other question would be, Jennifer Lopez, she was a huge fan of yours throughout this season, so did you get a chance to talk to her after the show, did she say anything to you?
HH: She came up to me with teary eyes and she said, “I was convincing them to save you but I lost.” But only her vote counts for me, I guess, … whatever.
TB: Well, I wish you the best of luck, and have fun on the tour this summer.
HH: Thank you.
Mark Stone with Castanet Media:
MS: Hey, Heejun, how are you?
HH: I’m all right. What’s up?
MS: Last week you hammed it up and you were safe. And this week you were serious and you got voted out. Do you have a theory as to what the voters actually wanted from you?
HH: I have no idea, you guys voted … for a second time, so I have no idea what you guys are doing. But all the joking aside, everyone has different taste, I can’t please everyone, so I’m just happy with the fact that I made it this far.
MS: Yes, and you made a big impression on the show … . So my follow up I guess, if Fox were to give you your own sitcom, what would the premise be?
HH: What would be the title …?
MS: The premise, what would the premise of your sitcom be, your life story?
HH: It should be an Asian guy who’s going out with a really, really pretty blonde girl.
MS: All right, that sounds good. Nothing more? No crazy antagonist in there? All right, well thanks a lot, Heejun. I wish you all the best of luck.
Michael Weinfeld with the Associated Press:
MW: Hi, Heejun.
HH: Hey, what’s up, man?
MW: Hey, I wanted to talk to you about what Randy was talking about afterwards about the sitcom. What exactly did he tell you?
HH: … he grabbed me and said, “Dude, you’re a great singer, but you have to be in a sitcom.” And I said, “Well, Randy, I just got voted off of the singing competition and that’s the advice you’re going to give me?” And that’s what happened.
MW: Is that something you think you’d actually want to do?
HH: Of course. I’m not going to be picky about anything. I really want to make something out of this regardless if it’s a sitcom, movie, anything. If they are willing to work with me I’ll do it.
MW: And to the criticism as to whether or not you were taking the competition seriously, were you?
HH: That’s a no-brainer question, because if I didn’t take the competition seriously I would have never actually started from the first place … hours and hours of auditions, rehearsal, and all the hard work.
MW: Okay, thanks a lot, Heejun.
HH: Thank you.
Stephanie Long with Wet Paint Entertainment:
SL: Hi, Heejun.
HH: Hi, Wet Paint.
SL: Hi. Did you have a chance to straighten things out with Steven Tyler after your Billy Joel performance?
HH: No, but we hugged it out afterwards, after my “Song for You” performance, we did.
SL: Okay. At this point, if you could only bet on one of the contestants to win who would it be?
HH: Well, at this point since I didn’t make it to the competition I hope no one will win.
SL: Not even Phillip Phillips?
HH: Why does it have to be Phillip Phillips?
SL: You guys have the cutest bromance.
HH: Aw, you have the cutest voice.
SL: Thank you.
HH: Thank you.
Beth Krakowski with Reality TV World:
BK: Hi, how are you doing?
HH: Hi, Reality TV World.
BK: My question for you is based on the judges’ comments your performance this week was the best one you’ve actually had so far this season during the performance shows. Did this surprise you, that you were eliminated considering the judges and Jimmy Iovine thought you had a breakthrough this week and did your best yet?
HH: It’s an ironic situation where you can be pleased and you can be sad about it because you had a performance where you get to show who you are and you get voted off. But as a good prospective … I get to finish the show on a high note, so people can expect what’s coming next, I guess.
BK: Absolutely. And you said a quote, “I’m not trying to be a star. I’m just really happy where I am” during last week’s results show. And a lot of people interpreted that as you didn’t want to win the competition. So was that actually the case? Is that what you had intended to suggest or no? And I guess regardless of whether you implied that you didn’t care about winning American Idol, do you think it played any role in your elimination and that maybe the fans thought, oh well, if he doesn’t care why should we type of thing?
HH: This is my first live national TV debut, so when everything comes to you so quickly you have no idea how to react to it. I’m just an ordinary guy who happened to be number nine on American Idol and you never thought that you could make it and you’ve been doubting yourself for your whole life, and when you’re having that moment when the biggest producer in this industry, which is … saying you’re not going to win this competition and we’re not going to spend a penny on him because 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. That was my natural reaction to it. People can take it as, oh, he doesn’t want to win the whole thing, but at that time at least I was really genuinely since about how humble I am to this competition being the spot that I’m standing was pretty much more than I deserve, I guess. That was my perspective.
BK: Okay, thanks a lot, Heejun.
HH: Thank you.
Jennifer Still with Digital Spy:
JS: Hi, Heejun, how are you?
JS: My question has to do with your choice to obviously sing Donny Hathaway this week. It’s such a song that I feel like a lot of people obviously are inspired by. Obviously Donny Hathaway is a massive soul singer, but did you have any concerns about choosing a song that has been sung so many times in the competition previously, did you worry that that might count against you?
HH: I had no idea that they had been singing it a lot of times. I had no idea.
JS: And can you talk a little bit more about what was behind your choosing of that song, what about that song really has stuck out to you and moved you?
HH: I like the lyrics. It says, “I’ve been … 10,000 people when I’m just singing in front of you,” it was literally saying I’ve been doing this competition … people and now I really want to show my appreciation toward people who have believed in me and supported me. Maybe I knew it was going to be my last stage.
JS: Thank you very much and best of luck in the future.
HH: Thank you.
Sharyn Jackson with Xfinity TV.
SJ: Hi, Heejun.
SJ: How were you feeling when Steven Tyler said on Billy Joel week that you weren’t taking things seriously?
HH: We had our different perspectives. I was trying to give a fun time to America because I thought it was going to be entertaining and it’s going to be fun and everything, but maybe he took it wrong. But I can’t please everyone, so I’m just happy with the fact that I get to show a little bit of the fun side of me.
SJ: And when are you coming back to New York, and are you going to go back to work with your kids?
HH: I’m coming back on Sunday, this week, but I’m having press until Thursday, so I might have to see them next week.
SJ: Thank you.
Allison Ebner with PopCultureMadness.com
AE: Hi, Heejun. I know it’s only the beginning for you, but I voted for you every week so I’m definitely sad to see we won’t –
AE: If you could back to the very beginning of your Idol journey and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?
HH: Do not try this at home. I’m just kidding. Do you know what, a singing competition, a model competition, and anything when it comes down to a competition, it’s really just literally saying you’re competing against each other. It’s the Hunger Games but just not killing each other. Why do you always have to be so serious when only one person’s got to survive, right, so you might as well have fun and have a thick skin and stay true to yourself.
AE: Great. What are you most looking forward to about the tour? I imagine with your antics and your buddy Phillip it’s going to be quite the summer.
HH: The things that I showed during the competition and TV, it’s not going to be half as crazy as I’m going to show on the tour. It’s going to be awesome, crazy. It’s not a competition anymore so I’m just going to have crazy, crazy fun with my audience.
AE: Great, thank you so much, and I can’t wait to see more from you in the future.
HH: Thank you.
Michelle Angermiller with Hollywood Reporter:
MA: Hey, Heejun.
MA: Oh, we loved you, we said you ruled every week.
HH: Aw, thank you.
MA: Last night we saw that Phillip was actually crying last night when you were eliminated. I want to know, did you cry?
HH: I think he was faking it. I was kidding. We’re best friends since day one and I really, really wish him the best of luck because he has what it takes. I’m pretty sure he’s going to do well. I didn’t cry because I don’t want to cry. I just left the mansion really early on purpose because I knew I was going to be emotional, so yes.
MA: Now, I know that Jimmy had said that rather harsh comment that Interscope wasn’t going to spend any money on you, but how do you feel? Do you feel like you’re going to get a record deal anyway regardless of what he said?
HH: Regardless of what he said, I don’t really want to work with him anyway, so I don’t care. I was kidding. He is the greatest mentor that this industry could ever ask supposedly. We have our different perspectives towards life, even the song itself, so I don’t know what’s going to happen but I really wanted to prove him wrong and I really do want to make him regret saying that.
MA: Well, we look forward to what you have coming up in the future and wish you all the best of luck. I can’t wait to see you on the tour.
HH: Thank you.
Stephanie Long with Wet Paint Entertainment (follow-up):
SL: Hi, again. I was wondering who your favorite guest mentor to work was during the competition?
HH: Guest mentor was Stevie Nicks. She was well prepared, she was the one who actually gave me the really great advice saying that you have to be effortless when you’re singing, which is amazing advice because I was trying to impress people too hard and that’s when you fall. But she gave me advice saying just tell your story and do not try to impress anyone.
SL: Great. And of all your performances which did you feel like was the best?
HH: “My Life” by Billy Joel.
SL: Okay. I loved it too. Thank you.
HH: Thank you.
Beth Krakowski with Reality TV World (follow-up):
BK: Hi, Heejun.
BK: What was the sentiment among the men this season, because last season the first four eliminated finalists had all been girls, and the season prior to that was a similar situation. Did you guys think that you had an advantage in the competition, and might last longer than the girls just because of the nature of the voting public? Because when I talked to Erica last week she said she believed the women finalists had a much harder hill to climb than the men, and when we talked to Shannon Magrane, she said that there needs to be a little bit more “girl power” going forward.
HH: Wow, you do watch the show really well.
HH: To be really, really honest, I don’t really have any thoughts on that because I think it’s not really about who’s the best female or male artist. At the end of the day it’s going to be just the best singer and if not who can make something out of this opportunity. So I’m pretty sure there are girls who have been voting for lots of guys, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same game for everyone because at the end of the day this is the same competition.
BK: Okay, so I guess do you personally think, though, that a woman can win again, or do you think the men will continue to dominate the competition?
HH: You know, may the best win, may the best entertainer win. I don’t know if it’s going to be a man or a woman, but to be honest, I really don’t care, I guess. If I really have to choose I prefer a girl as a winner of the season.
BK: This was only the third week that the judges had an option to use the save so do you think it would have been realistic for them to use it so early in the competition when you landed in the bottom three?
HH: Of course it was way too early to use their card, I’m pretty sure that they are saving it for a couple of other people, so I was pretty sure that it was pretty fair and square, yes.
Michelle Angermiller with the Hollywood Reporter (follow-up):
MA: Hello again, you.
MA: Now, you told Shirley last night that you would consider auditioning for The Voice. Do you think you might go for another singing show?
HH: I was just 110% joking. I was really joking. I’m not doing any competition anymore except for America’s Next Top Model.
Moderator: We have no further questions. Heejun, do you have any closing remarks?
HH: Thank you guys for voting. Thank you guys for believing in me. I started off this competition to show the world that if you really, really truly believe in yourself you can make something out of it, and if you really, really do stuff for others the outcome is something beyond your imagination, and I hope I can prove it. And even though this was a … competition I was just focused on entertaining you guys and I hope it worked. I had a fun, amazing journey and it’s only going to get crazier, so just tune in to me any time I’m on TV. Thank you.