It seems as if the only person who isn’t mad that Michael Johns got kicked off American Idol last night is Michael Johns. But it was no surprise he’s still smiling once he had told OK! about the list of superstars who are singing his praises.
The Aussie star doesn’t even have any hard feelings for Ryan Seacrest after the cruel little mind game he played with him on air.
Some have said that host Ryan was more than a little mean when he tried to pump up the suspense by telling Michael that he had lost, then letting him think he might be saved, before finally dropping the ax.
"Look, I get the television aspect of this. But it was tough," Michael says, admitting that he fell for the trick. "But then reality set in and Ryan gave me a look like, ‘Look, I’m so sorry I had to do that,’ " he said.
"I don’t hold it against Ryan."
He says the tidal wave of boos from the studio audience after the result was read out more than made up for it. "It was pretty loud in there," Michael told us. "It gave me solace that I stuck in there with a lot of people and it made me feel really special, actually."
Anyway, he could hardly have stayed bitter after day he has had. This morning after he had finished a video-link interview with the Fox and Friends TV show, Michael got a spontaneous message from their studio guest, Dolly Parton.
Michael, originally from Perth, Australia, had been blown away when he got to meet Dolly when she appeared on Idol as a mentor two weeks ago, and he said it was "surreal" to hear from her again this morning.
"I don’t know how she was made aware of it, but all of a sudden she was saying, ‘I couldn’t believe you got voted off, it was really shocking to me,’ and that fact that she loved what I did with her song, which was amazing to me," he told OK!.
"And she said that she would love to write and maybe sing a song with me one of these days!"
"That’s so surreal to hear Dolly Parton say, ‘I can’t wait to sing a duet with you one day.’ That’s awesome," he said.
The 29-year-old told us that the country superstar isn’t the only member of his celebrity fan club.
"I got a reach-out from Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman," he said. "I was their favorite and they watch every week and it’s just amazing how far this show reaches. Everyone from a Dolly Parton to a Keith Urban," he said.
"It was a message passed on to me at an event we went to on Wednesday night on Idol Gives Back. It was the last thing that I expected to hear. To hear two great Australians saying that to you, I was very, very honored."
Michael says he was truly shocked to be voted off the show after never having finished in the Bottom 3 in his eight weeks on the show. But he says he’s done enough to set himself up for the music career he’s always dreamed of.
Paula even told him after the elimination that "she’d bet her house" that she’d be sitting in one of his concerts soon.
Michael, of Buckhead, Ga., says there’s more to being a star after Idol than winning the contest. "It depends on what album you make afterwards, it depends on whether on the show you were true to yourself and I think the people who have succeeded afterwards, from the Kimberley Locke to the Carrie Underwoods.
"That’s the one common thing: they’ve been true to themselves and stayed true to their hearts," he said.
"For me what was more important was showing America what kind of record I’m going to make, after the fact," he added.
And, anyway, it’s no wonder Michael doesn’t take it too hard when you hear his theory about his early exit: Michael thinks he lost the vote because he was too good.
"No one’s safe," he said. "The public can think week-to-week like, ‘Oh, they did a good performance’ or ‘They’re coming off a good two- or three-week run and I’m going to vote for someone who maybe didn’t have a good night’."
He added that he doesn’t think his being Australian played a part in his downfall, especially since so many of the other contestants were born, or have parents who were born, outside of the USA.
Michael says he plans to stay in America and have an album out by next year. But right now, he says, he has some more short-term plans to attend to, in the tradition of his native Australia. "We’re a pretty big beer drinking nation. So that’s probably what I’m going to do in a little bit!"