American Idol: The First Four Gone Meet The Press
Only One Regret: Janell Wheeler, the 24-year-old from Orlando who demonstrated star power during Hollywood Week with her rendition of "American Boy," regretted only one thing, and that's leaving her six-string behind. "In order for me to really have ensured my place in the next round," she says, "I really should have gone ahead and brought my guitar out and performed a top 40 hit like 'American Boy.' I think I knew exactly what the judges wanted from me; I just was choosing to do it the second week." On a positive note about her performance of Heart's "What About Love," Wheeler says, "If there is any way to go out, I'm so proud of the way I did. Several of the girls have even texted me and said, 'Janell, you have so much poise and you're a class act.' I kept it together, I sang my song better than the first time and I'm really happy with how it went."
Judging The Judges: Ellen, Randy, Kara and Simon aren't afraid to share their opinions, and neither are the contestants! Ashley Rodriguez, 22, from Chelsea, Mass., says the judges "weren't taking any chances this week! I think a lot of thought that they would be a little lenient considering it was our first live show but it turns out they were coming in throwing punches! I wouldn’t say they were too hard, but we definitely could have used some love from them. They were very quick to give a lot of criticism but not back it up with anything positive, which is unfortunate, because you always can find something in good from a performance, even if it falls apart. There is always something positive you can take away."
New Friendships: Although 20-year-old Joe Muñoz from Huntington Park, Calif., is leaving Idol early, he's taking with him some lasting friendships, including one with Tim Urban, who stood next to Muñoz on the chopping block Thursday night. "I got to see Tim right before I left the hotel," he says, "and he's a really nice guy and I said goodbye to Todrick Hall also. He's become one of my best friends. Everybody is so cool! Everybody's so different but they are all really, really nice."
Keeping It Real: Tyler Grady, 20, of Nazareth, Penn., will continue rockin' with his Lehigh Valley band Wailing Waters, but being on Idol "made me really appreciate performers who do television," he says. "I've never been in that situation before and it's really a different ballgame." When asked, had he continued, if he would have taken criticism or just done his own thing, Grady says, "I respect the judges and I think they are very qualified to be critiquing the contestants on the show, but at the same time, when you are building a fan base and your fans are supporting you, they are supporting you because of what you are doing. I've been consistent from the Boston auditions until now, and if you've ever seen my band play, that's exactly the style of performance I give every time."
Tell us: Would you have saved any of the four here?
F Micelotta/American Idol 2010/Getty