Josiah Leming's Life After Idol

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Josiah Leming’s teary elimination this week shocked American Idol fans — and Leming himself. Before getting the hook, the troubadour had confidently told the cameras he was sure to be Top 24-bound. Now back home in Knoxville, Tenn., with his parents … his famous car (and temporary bedroom) is parked … Leming, 18, says he’s received calls from record labels and sold 1,000 copies of his album on his MySpace page. PEOPLE.com caught up with him about how it all went down — and where it went wrong. –Brian Orloff

At one point contestants were asked to play with a band, but you dismissed them. Do you think that move turned the judges on you?The band and I didn’t get along. When I wanted to play the piano, the band didn’t think it was a good idea. From day one, me and the band started off wrong, and I’m kind of hard to work with, I suppose, when it comes to musical things because I’m a musical person. So I had a lot of input … and they didn’t really like that. I think that was my chance to show the judges what I could do if I was to make it to the Top 24 … and I failed to do it.

Which of the three judges do you think were really supporting you?I think all the judges were in my corner … The producers were the ones who didn’t want me on the show. … Producers like to put contestants in whatever genre they choose and I’m a very genre-specific singer. I have my style already and I write my own music, and they prefer somebody that’s a bit more versatile. They want to mold you and have creative control. And I think they could tell from the get-go that I wasn’t going to be that person.

Tell us: Do you think Josiah is right about why he was kicked off the show? Could he have been the next American Idol?

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