The amazing ride of Matt Giraud has finally come to an end, but not before he made it into the American Idol history book by receiving the judges’ first Save, and earned a standing ovation from them with his goodbye performance of ”My Funny Valentine” Wednesday night. Here, the 23-year-old from Kalamazoo, Mich., talks about celebrity fans (Kristen Bell!), why he wimped out during that food fight, and his one demand for the Idol Top 10 tour.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’ve heard you got two hours of sleep.
MATT GIRAUD: Two hours’ sleep and one pancake. Here I go!
Welcome to show business!
Yay!!! [Laughs] How about the old dueling piano days where I slept until noon, grabbed some Taco Bell, went to work at 5? [Laughs]
So I thought your performance last night was amazing. It felt freer than Tuesday’s. Was that just because the pressure was off?
I haven’t seen it yet.
What?! You should watch it now. The other four contestants were going crazy over some of those runs you were doing, especially Allison.
Yeah, I kinda let it go on that one. I never know what the judges want. I try to simplify, and then they want it harder. Then I try to do something harder, and then they say I made it too intricate. I was like, You know what? I’m just gonna let it go and do it.
Did you feel like the judges ever gave you the credit you deserved for the rearranging you did? I’m thinking of something like ”Stayin’ Alive.”
Not really. I put a lot of time into rearranging those songs and trying to make them unique, to be called ”unoriginal” and stuff hurt. Like Randy told me, to us musicians, it sounds good. You just groove it out and it feels great. But you have to worry about what the audience feels. He told me that he thought ”Stayin’ Alive” went right over the audience’s head. ”This stuff wouldn’t be on the radio.” I’m like, ”There was a ‘Stayin’ Alive’ remix on the radio a few years ago, but okay.” [Laughs]
Did you give the other contestants any tips for Rat Pack night?
Yeah, I did. I actually suggested ”Come Fly With Me” for Danny, because he didn’t know any jazz. And then I kinda tried to help Kris a little bit with it. They know what they’re doing, these guys. Obviously, I’m the jazz guy and I studied vocal jazz. But I don’t think this show is about how well you can sing the genre, it’s all about how well you can make that genre your own. That was the challenge. I took so much time trying to learn how to sing and play each genre, and I didn’t get a lot of credit for that. But I’m not bitter. Don’t get me wrong. I’m just really glad that I got to make it that far.
NEXT PAGE: ”My boots smelled like eggs for two days.”