Even though judge Jennifer Lopez said his performance of Ne-Yo’s “Closer” was “very, very good,” Stefano Langone didn’t earn the votes to stick around another week and he was eliminated from American Idol on Thursday. After singing "Lately" as his swan song, Lagone, 21, spoke to PEOPLE about getting close with Lopez’s husband Marc Anthony and fellow contestant James Durbin, how he fits into the music industry and whether or not he had a crush on Pia Toscano.
What did you say to your father after your elimination?
My dad was heart broken. I said, “Dad I’m fine. It will be great and it’s going to be okay.” Now he wants me to do what I do best, which is hustling and staying relevant and making sure I’m on top of my game at all times.
Talk about your friendship with James Durbin.
We were roommates and we’ve been together in Hollywood from the beginning. We are brothers and I’m going to be best man at his wedding and we got so close and we helped each other with everything. I’d hear his song and I’d say, “I don’t like that part,” or “Sing this differently.” We helped each other musically and in our personal lives … We have really special bond, like brothers.
Did you have a crush on Pia?
No, me and Pia took a couple of pictures and once that happened – boom! – everyone was talking and it was how it goes. So was it good? Well, any publicity is good publicity, so we weren’t complaining about it. The truth is we have huge respect for each other … She’s having fun with Mark [Ballas]. I don’t what’s going on. She is going to do great and I’m proud of her. Mark seems like a cool dude.
Are you dating anyone?
I’m single and very happy, but I am mingling and having fun. But worrying about my music is number one and like I said, I will be hustling in these streets. You will see me.
What about your relationship with Jennifer Lopez and her husband Marc Anthony?
It was mainly Marc – he took me under his wing. I sound like a brother to him. Mainly, he helped me with my confidence and he said, “Don’t listen to the B.S. You got this and got something special,” and I took it to heart … I respect them so much as people and musicians.
I want to do collaborations with rappers. When I was living in Seattle I would do hooks and choruses for rappers. Collaborations like B.o.B and Bruno Mars did. I did a Stevie Wonder song [Thursday] night – in his key. I have that range. It’s like Stevie Wonder and John Legend, especially when I get behind that piano. That’s where I want to go with it.
How did American Idol change you?
It’s made me a potential star in music industry. That’s huge for me – everything.