American Idol contestant Chris Medina touched the hearts of 30 million people with a story and a song when his audition aired on Jan. 24. Chris explained to the judges and to America that his fiancé, Juliana Ramos, suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident, and he took on the role of her caretaker. His beautiful rendition of “Break Even” by The Script sent him though to Hollywood.
OK! was lucky enough to catch up with Chris in NYC after his emotional exit from the show last week. Chris was an early favorite in the competition, and his departure was a definite shock for America. His Idol journey may be over, but his career certainly is not!
Mere days after his elimination, Chris recorded a single titled “What Are Words,” written especially for him by Rodney Jerkins.
“Two days after I was eliminated someone from the label called me saying Rodney Jerkins wrote a song for me,” Chris said. “I went in, heard the song about 3 times, then he asked me to go in the booth and sing it! It was really fast, and also really hard because that song’s a really emotional, powerful song.”
Jerkins was inspired by Chris’ story to write the song. Despite the combination of Chris’s talent and moving story, he didn’t make this season’s top 24. However, he wasn’t shocked to hear he would be going home!
“I had this really weird feeling that it would happen, I’m not exactly sure why. I think it’s because the talent level was so incredible, and it’s easy to get caught up in a good story. I think the people that are there now had really consistent, solid performances and I think I had a really good audition and a couple really good performances, and a few just okay ones,” Chris said.
How did Chris react to making judge Jennifer Lopez weep in the wake of his exit?
“I was touched,” Chris said with a laugh. “I had thought she did a fantastic sending me on my way, it made me feel good about the situation. So when I saw she had cried it kind of was sweet to see she cared that much – although I don’t want to see her cry – it was just touching.”
Chris thought the three judges have great chemistry on the show, Steven Tyler being engaging and social, and some of his thoughts on J. Lo, aside from assuring that she is NOT a diva, were that she is “genuine and smart and has a good knack for judging.”
Since his appearance on Idol, lots of fans have donated resources and services to help Juliana.
“As soon as it aired, we had a lot of people reach out, donating supplies and medical services for free, things like that just trying to help out. The cool thing is we’re trying to pay it forward now.”
A portion of the proceeds from Chris’s single “What Are Words” on iTunes is going toward Juliana’s medical costs.
As far as he and Juliana getting married, “it’s always in the future,” Chris said. “It’s not something I want to forget. It’s always there to keep me motivated.”
Balancing a demanding music career and taking care of Juliana is a tough task, but Chris is confident that he has a great support system that will make sure everything’s okay. “If my mom’s not there helping Juliana, her mom’s obviously there. The main thing is making sure Juliana’s okay. Knowing they’re all trying really hard, I can stay focused, but if that starts to take a turn for the worse, I would definitely have to take a break and go back to it.”
So what’s on Chris’s iPod at the moment?
“All the songs that I learned on American Idol,” Chris said. He had to learn all those lyrics! “And then some of my favorites– Elton John to Billy Joel, Queen, The Script, One Republic, Bruno Mars– a whole variety of things,” Chris said. Some of his favorite underground artists include As Tall as Lions and The Deer Hunter!
The future is definitely bright for Chris Medina. In addition to his new single and video, “I really want to establish myself as an artist and start writing more. I still have a lot to learn, but I think Idol’s opened up my eyes and given me a renowned faith that I can do this,” he says.
Despite rumors, Simon Cowell’s X Factor is not included in his plans. “I’m just really terrified of Simon Cowell,” he jokes.
CATCH THE VIDEO OF CHRIS INTERVIEW AT OK! BELOW:
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By Maggie Doherty