David Hernandez only has one regret, following his elimination from “American Idol” on Wednesday night — and it has nothing to do with the rumors from his past.
“I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done in my past,” Hernandez told reporters on Thursday morning. “The only thing I was worried about was my song selection.”
Hernandez, who was sent packing this week following his performance of The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There,” is confident it was his performance — and not the rumors from his past — that ended his “Idol” ride.
“I don’t think people had any issues with my past,” Hernandez added, citing the reports that surfaced of his past as an exotic dancer. “I actually believe it was based on song selection. People’s personal lives shouldn’t influence their musical careers.”
Unfortunately for Hernandez, the song that did him in wasn’t his first choice.
“My first choice was ‘Let It Be,’ but that was already taken,” he revealed. “In my eyes, I did the best I could and I made it my own. I was very happy with (my performance). Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best song selection.”
Fellow contestant Brooke White wound up with “Let It Be,” a performance which earned her high praise from the judges.
Hernandez said the process of picking songs is done on a “first come, first serve” basis.
And while he may not have been overly confident in his song choice, when host Ryan Seacrest told Hernandez he was going home, it caught the singer by surprise.
“I was genuinely shocked. I really didn’t think I’d be going home,” Hernandez admitted. “Based on all the things the judges have said about my vocals, I thought I would be in the bottom three, but I didn’t feel like I deserved to go home. But everything happens for a reason.”
But now that his run at being the next “American Idol” has come to an end, what’s next?
“Right now, I’m getting ready to do a bunch of press. I’ll be on ‘Ellen’ and the ‘Today’ show and then I’m going to shop around a record deal. I would like to have an album released in the next year,” Hernandez said. “I would even love to do Broadway. I’m keeping my options open.”
Hernandez, who described his sound as pop and R&B influenced, said one artist he’d love to collaborate with was Alicia Keys.
During his time on “Idol” and despite the adversity he faced, Hernandez said he will take some valuable lessons with him as he pursues his career in music.
“It’s been a roller coaster. But through all the madness and chaos, I think I have gained a deeper respect for myself and an appreciation for the music business. I’ve got a newfound confidence in myself as a performer,” he noted.
The Arizona native said he did his best to block out any of the negative attention coming his way, after reports surfaced that he had previously worked as an exotic dancer at a club with a male clientele.
“I’ve been staying away from the Internet and the TV. And if this is the worst thing that comes out in my career, than I’m pretty set,” Hernandez noted. “You have to have thick skin and know people are going to say bad things about you.”
Having made it through to the Top 12, Hernandez offered some words of wisdom to any future “Idol” hopefuls.
“Go with your instinct. And usually your first gong selection is the right one,” he said. “All is fair in love, war — and entertainment.”