American Idol Shocker: Colton Dixon Eliminated

Colton Dixon on American Idol Season 11

On the heels of the elimination and eventual save of Jessica Sanchez came the shocking elimination of Colton Dixon. American Idol’s resident Christian rock singer was favored to end up in the finale, but Thursday night, he ended up in the bottom three for the first time. When it came down to him and Hollie Cavanagh, it was Dixon who was sent home.

Dixon’s song choice was criticized by the judges and Jimmy Iovine. He sang Bad Romance by Lady Gaga and September by Earth, Wind and Fire. His performances received the worst reviews he’d had all season, and he ended up going home. Dixon sat down for a conference call with the press Friday morning, and this is what he had to say about his elimination:

Jamie Ruby with
JR: Hi, Colton.  Thanks so much for doing the call today.
CD: Yes, no problem.
JR: In the future what kind of album do you see yourself making, and do you have any plans to do one with your sister?
CD: I definitely want to do Christian music.  I hope that I get to.  But right now I’m going to write as much as I can and see what comes out and then whatever the product is of that will be where I’m placed as far as a genre of music.  But with my sister, I had someone earlier today ask me if I would do a duet with my sister on an album and I think that would be amazing.  It’s a great idea.  I’ll look into it and see if she wants to do it, which I’m sure she’d love to.  That would be so much fun.  But we’ll have to see and cross that bridge if and when it comes.JR: How do you make your song choices on the show, what all goes into that?
CD: We have one to two days to choose a song, or two songs if it’s a two song week, and it’s rough.  They give you a song list and you choose either from 13 songs on a list or a two page list.  For this week it was a two page list for the top 100 number ones from 2000 to now, and then a two page list for Soul Train, so you just have to go through and see what you can do with a song.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I chose the best one this week, but it’s all good.  But when you’re choosing a song you’ve just got to make sure it’s something that you can connect to, and that’s what I try and focus on first, and then the musicality and how you’re going to perform it comes later. 

Todd Betzold with Many were shocked to see you go last night, but one of those people was Carrie Underwood, who happened to send out some tweets last night in support of you.  I was just wondering if you got a chance to read those and what do you think about that?
CD: I haven’t seen them through Twitter, but during an interview last night afterwards someone told me what she had wrote, and I just want to say thanks.  She has done so well since American Idol and I love that she doesn’t shy away from her faith either, so it’s nice to see someone doing what I want to do away from the show give me good encouragement, and yes, it was amazing to see that and I really do appreciate it.
TB: Then, what advice did you receive while you were on the show that you’re going to carry with you from now on?
CD: Always stay true to yourself no matter who’s in your ear telling you to do this, that, and the other.  At the end of the day it’s your decision.  And unfortunately, song choice got the best of me this week, so it’s a hard lesson learned, but I needed to learn that lesson.   You have to have a valley before you can peak and what’s cool about this is I don’t think I’ve peaked yet, which makes me excited for this album, or hopeful album, I should say.  We’ll see what happens.  But, yes, always remaining true to yourself, for sure.

Dixon taking on Billy Joel's "Piano Man"

Dave Paulsen with The Tennessean:
DP: Hey, Colton.
CD: Hey, man, what’s up?
DP: Hey, not much.  I’m calling from Nashville.  I wanted to see if in your future plans, if they involved working in Nashville writing, recording, do you know yet, or in the area, I know you’re based in Murfreesboro.
CD: Yes, first of all, I miss Nashville so much … back next week.  But, yes, I have several friends who love to write in and around Nashville and Franklin and Murphysboro, so I’m excited to get back and start working and see what we come up with.  But I definitely plan on staying somewhere around Nashville for sure.


Matt Carter with Elaborating a little bit on you saying you want to make Christian music, are some of the artists you’re looking at for inspiration on making an album the sort of … , the sort of bands that appeal to Christian audiences and at the same time have a little bit of mainstream appeal to go along with it?
CD: Absolutely.  I’m so thankful for the Idol platform because I was able to reach so many more people than just the Christian market, and I’m extremely thankful for that.  Doing a Switchfoot route would be amazing.  It would be exactly what I want to do.  I could get the best of both worlds, I could maybe tour with a … or a Paramore, or even Switchfoot, and then hit the main churches along the way too.  It’s about a ministry for me, so I’d be able to share the message with people who already know and for those who maybe don’t know.  I’d love to be able to do that.  I’m excited to see what happens with it.

Mark Stone from Castanet Media:MS: Last night, I know you talked about your song choice, but you apologized.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone apologize like that before.  Can you elaborate on what you were apologizing for really, other than the song choice?
CD: Yes.  Last night, first of all, seeing the way I came across on camera after going backstage after “September” I was kind of disappointed, one, with TV editing, but again I said it, so I was disappointed in that, and that’s definitely not who I am.  And that struck me the wrong way, but especially with song choice, I’ve taken pride in knowing who I am and really taking a stance in my faith, and I think by choosing “Bad Romance” I turned off a lot of those voters, which are my core voters.  So it was an apology for both of those things.  I’m sorry that I got caught up in the musicality and performance this week instead of what it should have been, which is the connection to a song that I normally bring every week, and so I hate that I had to go out on that note, but I got a chance to do Everything by Lifehouse again and I’m glad I got to do that.

Mike Hughes with TV America:
MH: Colton, I really enjoyed the fact that you went out with a song that had a lot of religious impact.  It’s interesting that we’ve had a lot of people with faith on the show but they’ve never sung any religious songs, even during Inspiration Week.  Tell me about your decision to really do a strong religious feeling song as you went out.
CD: The producers and everyone else on the show are saying be who you are, you’ve gotten this far based on that, and I was going to do this anyway, but that just really gave me a good little kick into doing everything by Lighthouse.  I’m a Christian and I’m not going to shy away from it, so I thought I should share that with everyone watching and I got great feedback from what I did, but I was so glad I got to do it, not once but twice on the show.  I think that made an impact and that encouraged fellow believers to take a stand for what they believe in and not be ashamed of it.
MH: Cool.  Good work.  Thanks a lot.
CD: Thank you.

Michael Weinfeld with Associated Press Broadcast:MW: Colton, Chris Daughtry once said that he was glad that he lost because winning would have wrecked his rock cred.  Do you go along with that?
CD: I’m not sure if I completely agree with that.  Winning provides many, many, many opportunities that me and five other people aren’t going to get to experience.  However, Idol is such a huge platform and so many people watch it from a certain point on that people now know who I am and who I stand for and what I want to do.  So I understand what Chris is saying, but at the same time I think, I’m not going to lie, it would have been nice to win, but by not winning I think I’m more flexible with what I can and can’t do.  Everything happens for a reason, and God’s got a plan, so I’m just going to trust it and go along with it.

David Oliver with USA Today:DO: If you had to pick out of everybody who do you see going into the finals?
CD: In seasons past, I could clearly pick a winner, and I’m not just saying this because they’re all dear to me, but it’s anyone’s game, and I genuinely mean that.  I think a lot of people were surprised by me leaving last night, but it goes to show you that no one’s safe.  America has to vote for their favorites.  There are a couple of people that stand out every week, but at the same time there’s room for dark horses in this race.  Everyone did so well this week and I know that streak is going to continue, but honestly, I’m just as curious as everyone else who’s going to take this thing home, because I honestly have no clue.

Katie Bruno with OK! Magazine:KB: I’m so sorry to see you go last night.  We were all really upset over here.  Were there any of the judges in particular that you felt were maybe too hard on you, or did you ever find yourself getting frustrated with any of them?
CD: I was frustrated after I did “September” just because they tell me to be true to who I am and they love the way that I change up the song, and yet they didn’t like “September,” which I thought I did to a T to who I am.  So that was a little frustrating, but at the same time it didn’t show off a lot of vocals and the range wasn’t crazy, so I understand it from a vocal competition standpoint.  It’s frustrating but at the same time I get it.  That was a little frustrating, but at the same time after hearing comments like “I can hear you on the radio today, you’re ready to make a record today” from Steven, it’s so encouraging.  It makes me want to write this very second and get a record together.  So I’m stoked for what’s going to happen. 
KB: And which one of them do you think gave you the best advice?
CD: I think Randy has given the best.  I love them all and they all bring something different, but Randy has really reached out and invested in me and I love seeing that.  He told me never stray too far from who you are and always up your game.  It’s not week to week now, but it might be song to song or album to album hopefully.  So I’ll definitely take that and always remember that.

Michael Jodha with CTV:MJ: The judges have repeatedly said that they were pleasantly surprised with how you would take a song and you would perform it with your own personal style.  I’m just curious, what would you say was your riskiest move in that regard, whether it was …?
CD: I think the biggest risk was “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga, and I think it was a bad risk to take because I didn’t really think it through.  I think musically and performance wise and image, I was so happy with the way it turned out, but at the same time the message that was portrayed wasn’t really who I was.  And that’s normally the first thing that I think about, and for whatever reason I overlooked that this week and I lost sight of what I normally think of first.  So I think that’s the main reason why I’m talking to you right now, honestly.  But it’s a lesson that I’m going to learn from and I’m going to get back on my feet and I’m going to write and hopefully put out a record sometime soon, so no harm, no foul, and I’m totally excited about the future.

Dixon on his knees singing "Everything" by Lifehouse after his shocking elimination

Michelle Angermiller with The Hollywood Reporter:MA: Listen, when you are finished, you’re going to get to do multiple songs on the tour.  Have you thought through what songs you’re going to do on the tour and what would you have done for Queen Week next week?
CD: I have no clue what songs I’m going to do on tour.  I’m sure we’ll do a couple that we did on the show.  So I’ll probably ask the fans what their favorites were and figure it out and give them what they want.  For Queen I was wanting to do “The Show Must Go On.”  I think that would have been an awesome song.  I love the way Moulin Rouge did it.  That would have been such a fun song, it would have a choir.  I was totally excited about it.  I hate that I’m not going to get to do it, but yes, that would have been a lot of fun.
MA: Do you think that the votes were split with you and Phillip Phillips, because you two were the two males on the show that had the biggest voting blocks.
CD: I don’t think we were necessarily split.  I don’t think it was either you’re a Phillip fan or a Colton fan.  The demographic for voters are the same for a lot of us, so I hate when Jimmy compared us that way, but Phillip is phenomenal at what he does and I’m happy he stayed.  He’s fantastic and I’m excited to see what he does on the show and excited to see what he does with Queen.  Yes, I don’t think it was necessarily split, but I know a lot of my fans are Phillip Phillips fans too, so it’s going to be cool to see how all of this unwinds.

Beth Kwiatkowski with Reality TV World:BK: Both you and Hollie seemed pretty shocked when Ryan Seacrest announced that you’d be the one going home, especially since you had never been in the bottom three before prior to last night’s show.  What was going through your mind leading up to that announcement and then what were you thinking immediately afterwards?
CD: I had a feeling I was in the bottom three, so that didn’t surprise me so much, especially after I was standing next to Jessica and Phillip, that was kind of a giveaway to me.  But I was surprised, just because I had never been in the bottom, but at the same time I’m okay with it and I’m glad Hollie gets to stay longer.  She’s going to kill it next week and all’s going to be well.  But honestly, it all happened so fast and since I had never been in the bottom I didn’t fully understand what was going on.  And even this morning when I woke up I was thinking, okay, well, I need to get ready for the mentor session and I was like, oh wait, that wasn’t a bad dream last night.  It’s weird.  It’s weird being on the other side of things and outside of the Idol bubble.  But again I’m excited for what’s coming up and everything’s going to be okay.
BK: Sure, and it seems like American Idol this season has been stressing girl power.  Jimmy Iovine recently said during an episode that the girls really needed to band together and vote for the girls, while the female finalists I talked to up to this point agreed that there normally tends to be guy favoritism on American Idol and a girl really hasn’t even won the competition since Jordin Sparks in Season 6.  So I guess my question is, do you think all of this rallying is really making a difference, and maybe that’s why you got eliminated and so many men up to this point?  Do you think the female voters are really starting to help out the girls more now than in past seasons?
CD: Honestly, I don’t even know what to say.  I think this season if a girl is going to win any season it’s this season.  The girls are so good.  But then again, you look and you have Josh Ledet and Phillip Phillips still in it, seriously, anyone can take it this year.  It’s just about who’s willing to put in the work and change up a song and make it their own and really outshine the rest of the group every week.  I’m wondering and excited who’s going to take it just as much as everyone else is, and I know them all.  It’s going to be cool to see.

Tiffany Wan with Wet Paint Entertainment:
TW: I guess my question to you would be, you’ve sung so many songs over the course of Idol, what would be your ideal theme week if you were to choose your own?
CD: This has never been done on the show, and it probably won’t because not everyone is a writer, but I think it would be awesome if a theme week one week would be to write a song completely from scratch and play it.  That would be so much fun.  I love to write and it would be cool to sit in a room with different co-writers based on each artist.  I might need to talk to Nigel about this.  I’m getting excited about this week.  But, yes, I would love that.  That would have been so much fun.

Sharon Johnson with Xfinity TV:SJ: If the judges still had a save last night, do you think they would have used it on you?
CD: Based on this week and just from their feedback, I don’t know, it’s up in the air.  I think I was pretty consistent up until this week, so I would hope they would.  But at the same time I’m really glad they used it on Jessica.  She totally deserves it and she’s going to do great things.  I would like to think that they would and hope that they would, but I guess we’ll never know.

When the conference call was over, Colton gave the press some last words:

CD: Thanks for calling in.  I just want to leave you with I’m excited for the tour, and be looking out for an album hopefully sometimes soon.  I’m so excited to write with many different people that I’ve met through this journey, but again, I can’t stress enough my faith and what that means to me.  God gave me a voice at 13 years old and I just want to share it, whether that’s through Christian music, secular music, whatever.  But again, thank you for supporting me or following me through the journey.  I appreciate it.  But stay tuned because there’s going to be more to come for sure.

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