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Giraud Ready For Michigan Return After "Idol" Elmination

Of the Oakland Press

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Of the Oakland Press

Matt Giraud "can't wait" to come home to Michigan after being eliminated from "American Idol" on Wednesday (April 29) night.

"I'm looking forward to going home for a little while, definitely," the 23-year-old singer, a Kalamazoo resident who was born in Dearborn and raised in Ypsilanti, said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday (April 30.

"I don't think I'll be performing (in Michigan) or anything. I just can't wait to get home and see everyone. The vibe from Michigan has been amazing. Everyone's been so supportful. They've definitely pulled through."

Giraud said he even received a phone call from Gov. Jennifer Granholm "wishing me luck" during his 13-week run on the top-rated reality TV show.

Giraud's tenure included being added to the show's corps of finalists as a wild-card selection and receiving the first judges' "save" in show history two weeks ago after "Idol" viewers initially voted him off. He made it to the Top 5, but his rendition of "My Funny Valentine" during Rat Pack Week was not enough to keep him in the running.

"At this point it's more popularity than talent, of course -- we all know that," said Giraud, who was in this week's bottom three with Kris Allen and "Idol" consensus frontrunner Adam Lambert. "Everyone in the Top 5 is talented, (but) someone's got to go home every week. It's whoever can rub America the right way, I guess.

"I'm not kicking myself 'cause I'm not winning. We've seen lots of past Idols who go home in fourth, fifth, sixth placed do better than (the winners), so all hope is not lost."

To that end, Giraud is set to appear Monday on "Ellen" and "Regis and Kelly," and Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show. He'll return to Hollywood for the "Idol" finale on May 20 and will be part of the "American Idols Live!" tour, which starts July 5 in Portland, Ore., and plays Aug. 26 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

He's also started to make plans for an album. 19 Entertainment, which produces "Idol," has right of first refusal for all the finalists, and even those not chosen are generally signed by another company.

"I'd actually like to get more into rock, soulful rock, maybe, with a twist of blues on it," Giraud said. "I'd love to see myself as the lead man with a piano and a band around me, touring and doing good music.

"I'd love to get on the road and maybe open for a band after the (Idol) tour, maybe the Fray or Gavin Degraw (and) just pay my dues in the music industry."

Giraud said he was disappointed by Wednesday's decision but said that after being consigned to the bottom two or three on previous episodes he was "preparing myself mentally for such a hard thing to deal with."

"It was a sad night," Giraud says. "We went to do an 'Idol Extra' thing and went home, had to pack up all my stuff -- that took forever -- packed all my boxes and got to sleep just in time to get up two hours later. It was kind of (an) emotional night, but I think I handled it well, and I'm moving on."

Giraud is, however, pleased that as the first judges' save in the show's history, his spot is secure in "Idol" lore. "I can't wait to see my name on a trivia card," he quipped, though added that "I never felt so much love in a room before. It was a really cool feeling, probably one of the coolest moments of my life. It made me feel real special, and I hope people feel it was worth it."

"Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi certainly did. "One of the best things we did this season was save you," she told Giraud at the end of Wednesday's show.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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