It was hard not to feel sorry for Jorge Nunez during his media conference call Thursday. Here he was trying to enjoy the biggest moment of his life and all anyone wanted to talk about was Simon’s comment that it was a mistake to tell him to lose his accent. During the 20-minute session, he was probably asked about that at least six times, including once by a reporter from Puerto Rico who was horrified that he had tried to get rid of it to begin with.
At times, the frustration in his voice was obvious as he often had to ask reporters to repeat their questions—most of them ones he had already answered just minutes ago.
Here’s a sample of what Jorge had to say..
On his musical background: “I usually did choir and small groups, nothing big. The only big thing I’ve done is ‘Idol.’”
On why he tried out: “I tried out because I’ve always wanted to and since they came to Puerto Rico, I thought why not.” Jorge also said that his great grandfather had always wanted him to audition. His great grandfather passed away six months before the audition.
On his song choices: “I just like to make beautiful music. I like beautiful songs that can get to people’s hearts.”
On the accent controversy: “They wanted me to change my accent when I was singing. [Simon’s comments] helped me be a little more relieved. I’m 21 so it’s not something I’m going to be able to change…I wanted to follow the advice to let them know I listen to what they say. Now I can feel more comfortable….[The judges] want what’s best for me… I’m not worried because it’s something that is part of who I am… I would like to integrate a few verses in Spanish. I think my voice sounds best when I sing in Spanish…
If I get the chance to sing in Spanish, I’m not going to lose it.” Jorge also speaks French.
On Hollywood Week: “My first Hollywood performance (Jon Secada’s “Angel”) was the best of the week. The group performance? We were a mess. We were horrible. Luckily when I sang Closer for the third round, I redeemed myself.”
On the difference between Hollywood and Puerto Rico: “People from Puerto Rico, we’re innocent people. We’re hospitable, warm. Here it’s such a big city. The atmosphere is different. It’s interesting. People are not as warm as you might think, but still they’re cool.
On his plans before “Idol”: “Before this, I wanted to be a lawyer. Now I’m really trying to focus on music.”
On choosing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”: “That song was perfect for the show. It says, ‘I just got here so not now.’ I love Elton John music. His songs combine all the elements in one.”
On being the only Puerto Rican to make the Top 13: “It’s a lot of pressure, but a lot of pride too. It’s showing the talent [Puerto Ricans] have.”
On crying during Tuesday’s show: “I’m an artist so I’m an emotional person. I cried because they told me I was born to sing. I’m not always crying.”
On connecting with the camera: “To me, it’s very important to connect with the camera, because the people on the other side are the ones that are voting.”
On his dance moves: “They’re definitely not going to change. That’s my culture.”
On his “Idol” experience: “There’s no words to actually describe what you feel right now. [People leaving] is sad, but it makes you feel like, ‘I’m blessed.’”
On the different themes, “Whatever may come, I’ll just do it…I would love to have Britney Spears as a mentor.”
Ryan Seacrest told Jorge on his radio show Thursday morning that Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony texted him about Jorge’s performance. When a reporter asked him about that, Jorge said, “That’s been amazing. The best thing that’s ever happened to me. They told me they were brought to tears by my performance.”
In his closing comments to the media, Jorge said, “I want to thank America for giving me this chance. I hope I can keep going through rounds and rounds and keep doing what I love to do.”