LOS ANGELES - "American Idol" finalist Matt Giraud said he appreciates being compared to Justin Timberlake but intends to follow his own musical path.
"A white guy with soul, that's just how it works. ... But I think I'm a lot different," Giraud said Thursday, one day after being voted off the Fox TV singing contest. He admires Timberlake's approach but "it's not where I want to go," he told a teleconference.
Giraud, who proclaimed jazz to be a passion, said he wasn't disappointed that it was his jazz-flavored performance of "My Funny Valentine" Wednesday that led to his downfall.
A bigger song would have allowed him to show off more, he said, "but I wanted to pick something simple, and I'm glad I went out on that note."
He'd like to do an album that's "soulful rock with a twist of blues."
The 23-year-old piano player from Kalamazoo, Mich., was equally certain of how he would have dodged what he called the "cruel twist" that faced fellow contestant Adam Lambert.
On Thursday's elimination show, Lambert was left standing in center stage after the other four finalists were divided in pairs. Host Ryan Seacrest told Lambert to decide whether he belonged with Giraud and Kris Allen or Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta.
Lambert, who has been lavished with praise and survived weekly audience votes, picked the latter two _ but turned out to be a surprise bottom-dweller.
"I would have pulled an Archuleta and just sat down," Giraud said, referring to last season runner-up David Archuleta's response to a similar challenge.
On April 15, Giraud became the first "American Idol" contestant to get a judges' reprieve when the audience vote went against him. "`Idol' history has been made!" Seacrest exclaimed following the season's new, one-time-only salvation.
"I can't wait to see my name on a trivia card," Giraud joked Thursday, then turned serious.
"Being saved, I never felt so much love in the room (the theater) before," he said. "I really didn't know that people felt that passionately about me."