'There is a market for what I do and what I can do,' latest castoff says.
By Gil Kaufman
You have not seen the last of "American Idol" finalist Stefano Langone. Actually, based on what the seventh-place finisher said Friday (April 22) in a call with reporters, you may not have even seen the first of him.
In between moments of comparing himself to icons such as Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Justin Timberlake, self-proclaimed "lucky number seven" contestant Langone explained that he purposely held back on "Idol" because he wanted to save some of his patented special "swag" for his fans to hear on his debut album.
"It's hard to really show your chops on the show," he said. "One thing I wanted to save and keep close to myself was my original music and my piano playing. That's something that I want to bring out and really show the world, and I think it will be very, very special."
Saying that he purposely chose to not showcase his full range of talent on the program, Langone said he has big plans to carve a unique lane in the vein of Justin Timberlake and John Legend by playing piano, writing his own material and collaborating with rappers.
"Right now, there is a market for what I do and what I can do," Langone said when asked how he was going to become the rare #7 finisher who does not fade into obscurity after leaving the show. "The producers know it, my management knows it, and I know it. ... I'm ready to pounce on it. I'm ready to attack."
Curiously, Langone said not only did he choose to keep his piano talents under wraps, but he also picked songs that weren't necessarily the best ones for the show, but ones that he thought might help him in his post-"Idol" career. "When I get on that piano, I don't want to be remembered as getting on the piano and having 20 million-plus people see me on a piano doing a cover," he said. "I want people to see me sitting on a piano and singing my songs, my heartfelt, real songs that came from my soul."
Asked whom he might compare himself to or want to work with, Langone ticked off the kind of list that is probably on every wannabe star's bedroom wall at the moment: Bruno Mars, Legend, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Usher and Ne-Yo. Though he wouldn't reveal who has been in touch, Langone promised that he's already heard from a number of rappers who are ready to get in the studio with him.
Stefano also admitted that he was conflicted by lasting longer than his pal Pia Toscano, a singer many thought would finish higher than him. "When I came out for [the show], I was never wanting to be the American Idol; it was getting that foot in the door in the music industry and taking a step forward in that way," explained Langone, who hit the bottom three times before his luck ran out Thursday night. "I knew how bad Pia wanted to be the American Idol, and I almost wanted it more for her more than me."
Stefano said he was not rattled by landing in the bottom three so many times, instead focusing on what he was going to do the following week and working hard to improve. "It doesn't really reflect on who I am as a musician or a performer at all," he said. "Now it's time for me to really move forward and become that footprint that I know I can put on this industry."
When good pal and Hollywood roommate James Durbin jumped on him at the end of Thursday's show after shedding many tears for his eliminated friend, Langone just chalked it up to Durbin being a "cry baby" and said it was all good. He counseled James not to worry about him and revealed that he will be the best man at the rocker's upcoming wedding.
So we now know he held back on his talents, but given his apparent sex appeal, was Langone mad that it didn't dawn on him to plant a kiss on Jennifer Lopez's cheek first? "Not at all. That's cool for Casey," he said of bearded fellow sex symbol Casey Abrams, who made headlines with his judge's smooch on Wednesday night. "It's probably the first kiss he's had in a long time, so I ain't mad at him."
As for when he expects to snag his first Grammy? "A year," he said without missing a beat, then rethinking it a second later. "Two years."
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