05/29/2008 at 12:00 AM EDT
's Josiah Leming
, the free spirit who was living out of his car when he failed to make the Top 24, now has a record deal -- and a few choice words for the show.
"The fact is, it's glorified karaoke -- they pick with pretty faces and the pretty voices, and they don't let them write their own songs," Leming, 19, tells MTV News
The producers, he says, "pick these good-looking with voices, and they have them sing these songs that other have written.
"And therefore, it lacks passion, it lacks emotion and it lacks the things that set an artist off from being good to being great," says Leming, who was booted
during the Hollywood round of the show.
Still, Leming has no regrets. Thanks to the exposure on Idol
, he has signed with Warner Bros. Records.
"As everyone clearly saw, I poured my heart and soul into the process and into the competition," he says. "But looking back now, things could not have gone any better. Things happened perfect. I got the exposure. ... People liked me, which was amazing, and I love my fans more than anything. I'm happy I didn't make it. Looking back, it couldn't have gone any better."