When Burnell Taylor auditioned for “American Idol,” he was 40 pounds heavier and still an amateur. Now, after his shocking elimination, he talked to reporters about how he’s a changed man. He got a svelte look and a vocal coach to turn him into a pitch pro.
He also discovered a potential romance with fellow contestant Amber Holcomb.
“We like each other,” Burnell said about Amber. “We are just learning more about each other right now.”
Burnell said that despite his triumphant audition, Hollywood week was “rough” for him, because he was having pitch problems.
“So I took what they told me and did my homework and then got me a vocal coach,” he said. “I spent all the money that I had on a vocal coach, so when it was time for them to see me again I knew it was going to be like, ‘Oh, this is different, you got it together.’”
Burnell said he valued the advice of all the judges, but Jimmy Iovine was particularly helpful. Initially, though, Burnell was “terrified” of Jimmy. “But he’s like another Nicki [Minaj]. When you’re looking for pure honesty, that’s who you can go to. He knows what he’s talking about and you take the advice he gives you and learn from it.”
Unfortunately Jimmy’s impression of Burnell’s last performance, of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name,” was on par with the judges’ and America’s: not so good. But Burnell has no regrets about singing it.
“I had the time of my life performing that song,” he said. “If nobody’s not proud of me, I’m proud of myself because I know what it took to overcome that performance and shine through it,” he said.
Song choice has been a big issue this season, with the judges and Jimmy often calling out contestants who make bad decisions. Burnell said that choosing a song to fit the theme was the hardest part of his “Idol” experience.
“The themes are very challenging,” he said. “We don’t know all the songs and we always want to pick the best song. But I would say it’s a good challenge.”
Post-“Idol,” Burnell hopes to make “captivating music,” write his own songs, and work with superstars like Rihanna, Frank Ocean and India.Arie. “I just want to be heard and I want to be appreciated,” he said.
But in the meantime, he’ll be heading back to the gym. During the show, he said, “I gained 10 pounds.”