Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What’s next after ‘Idol’ exit?

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 3/3/2014

His exit from “American Idol” isn’t the end, Eric Gordon said.

In fact, it’s far from it, the former Richmond resident and Central Heights graduate said.

Despite making a good impression in an audition and winning the blessing from “Idol” judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban to compete to become the next “American Idol,” Gordon wasn’t featured in the show’s televised “Hollywood Round.” But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t there singing his lungs out in attempts to win the competition.

“They made it look like I was cut early on,” Gordon said. “So unless you were looking for me, you didn’t see me. I actually sung in every round in Hollywood and then got cut shortly before they chose the top 15 [male contestants].”

Gordon, who now lives in Minneapolis, Minn., participated in three competitions during the “Hollywood Round,” but to the dismay of many of his followers on Twitter from across the country, Gordon never made it back on TV and was not selected as one of the 30 contestants to compete in the following rounds.

 Gordon’s “American Idol” experience is finished — for now.

“I’d love to give [‘American Idol’] another shot,” Gordon said. “The first time around, I know I did it when I was 16, I wasn’t pursuing it as hard as I am now. So I think going back would be great. I learned a lot in the process and have the upper hand to go back and win the show this next season.”

Gordon arrived in Hollywood with the other contestants and was lucky enough to bypass the “Hollywood or Home” round, he said, which forced unsuspecting contestants to audition in front of the judges again, but this time immediately after arriving in Hollywood. Some were turned back and shipped home without a real shot at the “Hollywood Round.” Gordon, however, met a group of people and stuck with them when he was at the airport, he said. That group of people later turned out to be the friends he’d keep in the round and compete with during the group competition of the round.

“I kind of just clung to them immediately when I saw them,” Gordon said. “I’m just very much drama-free, and I’m pretty collected. I just naturally cling to people who have that same chill energy, which is a select few.”

Gordon said he participated in three events during the “Hollywood Round,” and that after each event he had the possibility of being sent home. During his first competition of the round, he performed John Mayer’s “Perfectly Lonely” for the judges, which was the song he performed in his audition. In his second competition, his group, which included two friends he met at the airport and a friend he met at the Detroit audition, performed “Royals” by Lorde. For his last competition — the event which ultimately showed him the exit — he performed “Up to the Mountain” by Patty Griffin.

“They broke everyone up into separate rooms,” Gordon said. “That’s when the judges came in to relay the bad information.”

 Although leaving Hollywood without the ultimate prize, Gordon said he was happy to have the experience and was lucky enough to gain support from viewers across the country. Many of them, who spoke out via Twitter, even campaigned to get Gordon back on the show for the “Wildcard Round.” But Gordon, who tweets from @ericpaulgordon, said he knew he didn’t have a chance at the round because those chosen were from the 30 contestants who made it past the “Hollywood Round.”

But he’s not complaining, he said. He’s happy to see people showing their support and trying to help him follow his dream.

“I have a team of people here who have always believed in me. Without a doubt they know it’s going to happen; it’s just a matter of time,” Gordon said. “So when I was cut, of course they were upset, because, like myself, I thought I was definitely good enough to win the show, if not make the top 10. There’s a lot of people who were extremely upset.

“I guess you find out who your fans are in these moments, and they’re not people you want to upset.”

Gordon is back home in Minneapolis, and continuing to work as a lab technician, but he still is actively pursuing his music career he said. He will be releasing a single in late spring or early summer and he’s been performing live shows, he said.

As for those “American Idol” friends he met in Hollywood, they aren’t just acquaintances he clung to so he could feel more comfortable during a stressful time, Gordon said. They are friends with whom he will be performing nationally.

“It’s kind of weird that we all got cut,” Gordon said. “I’ve definitely stayed in contact with them and will be performing with them throughout the country, just going to different states to perform at venues with them. The relationships are still there, because we’re kind of all in it together.”

Gordon said he hasn’t forgotten Kansas on his list of places to visit when he performs across the country. He plans to return this summer to perform for his hometown friends and fans at the Swan Arts Festival, which is set for June 20-22 at the Ottawa’s City Park, 515 S. Main St., Ottawa.

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