RICHMOND, Va. – Elliott Yamin, the latest contestant to be booted from "American Idol," says he'll do anything to make a lasting mark on the music world — without completely compromising his style, of course.
Yamin, 27, of Richmond, made his exit from the Fox talent competition Wednesday night, clearing the path for a showdown between Taylor Hicks of Birmingham, Ala., and Katharine McPhee of Los Angeles. The winner will be crowned May 24.
"I'm going to do whatever I can to just be heard and be successful," he told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.
"If that means that I have to hit the studio tomorrow and record an `Old McDonald Had a Farm' remix, then that's what I'll do. I don't want to compromise my style though. ... But whatever comes my way I'll take," Yamin said.
The blue-eyed soul singer — a favorite of judge Paula Abdul — received the lowest percentage of votes in one of the closest tallies in the competition.
"I thought it was amazing how close the vote was," Yamin said. "But it's not like I'm kind of kicking my heels and saying, `Oh boy, if we just had a few more people to vote.' I'm making no bones about what happened, and I never will. I'm just truly blessed to have made it this far."
Yamin, who is 90 percent deaf in his right ear, said competing on "American Idol" was the "first thing that I've done in years that I've actually followed through with and it's just a great sense of accomplishment. Yesterday's gone and I'm living for today and tomorrow."
On Tuesday's show, Yamin chose Donny Hathaway's version of Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul," which the judges complained wasn't a song the audience could connect with.
"I probably could have chosen a less obscure song," Yamin said. "They even told me that. ... But you know what, that was the good thing about the Ray Charles song was that it was my choice. ... I love that song, I love to sing it, that's all that matters."
The singer, who moved to Richmond when he was 10, honed his talent by making the rounds doing karaoke at local restaurants before his August audition in Boston.
He is featured on the "American Idol: Season 5 Encores" album, due out May 23, and will perform on the 41-city "American Idols" tour.
"I've known for years that this is what I should be doing, however I just didn't know how to get there," Yamin said. "People choose different paths, and I've chosen some OK paths and I've chosen some bad paths. I'm just lucky to have been able to make the best out of this opportunity.