Watch a clip of his performance from Tuesday's show.
His decision to play electric guitar on "The Search Is Over" was partially prompted by Paula Abdul's suggestion to step out from behind his trademark piano. "It happens all the time -- the judges say one thing and then they ridicule you for following their advice," MacIntyre said. "They're saying what they're saying because it's a television show and, unfortunately, sometimes go home because of it."
Even so, MacIntyre has no regrets. "I'm so glad I got to bring out the shredder and go down in a blaze of glory," he said. "None of us know how long we're gonna be around and I really felt like it would be a tremendous surprise to America if they saw me with an electric guitar on my shoulder. I thought they'd be hanging on the edge of their seat waiting for me to play that first chord."
MacIntyre, Idol's first blind contestant, had nothing but gratitude to Abdul for her show-closing remarks that he had been an "inspiration" to viewers. "It meant a lot to me that she recognized that and she felt compelled to say something," he said. "That's the reason I came to American Idol in the first place -- because I have a story I feel like need to hear."
The challenges he's faced in his life also help ease the sting of elimination. "Because of what I've been through, it really puts American Idol in perspective for me," he said. "This is not where it ends. It's been one of the best experiences of my life, but now it's time to start my career. And Idol's given me the tools to do that." -- Shawna Malcom