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Devin Velez, though axed from ‘Idol,’ still feels like a winner

AMERICAN IDOL: DevVelez (L) is eliminated AMERICAN IDOL airing Thursday March 28 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) FOX. Also pictured: Ryan Seacrest

AMERICAN IDOL: Devin Velez (L) is eliminated on AMERICAN IDOL airing Thursday, March 28 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Also pictured: Ryan Seacrest (R). CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright: FOX.

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Updated: May 1, 2013 3:34PM



Devin Velez won’t be the next “American Idol,” but the Chicago teenager already has designs on a different crown.

“My dream has always been to win prom king,” said Devin, 18, a senior at Rickover Naval Academy in Edgewater. “If this [‘Idol’] dream was achievable, I don’t think that one’s too far out of reach now that I’m going back home.”

Devin is headed back to his Portage Park home after being eliminated Thursday from the Fox singing competition. He’s not sure whether he’s headed back to work at Starbucks.

“I’m debating whether I’m going back to being a barista,” he said during a phone interview Friday. “I kind of want to for the money, but it might be a little hard now that people know who I am. I’m not just going to be writing ‘caramel macchiato’ on cups. I might be signing them, and that’s going to get crazy.”

The Chicago Children’s Choir alum had been on shaky ground ever since making it to the Top 10. In a season especially well-stocked with female talent, Devin struggled to rack up viewer votes and consistently landed among the bottom contestants.

Devin, who calls himself a born-again Christian, had one hope of salvation: deliver a final performance good enough to persuade the judges to unanimously use their sole “save” this season.

Devin belted out his trusty bilingual ballad “Somos Novios” (“It’s Impossible”), bringing every judge except Nicki Minaj to their feet. It wasn’t enough. He became the third finalist to get axed, leaving only two males still in the running.

“The girls, they have power,” Devin said. “None of them have gone home yet.”

Devin’s group performance Wednesday with the remaining males — Lazaro Arbos and Burnell Taylor — didn’t help his chances of sticking around. The three sang a shaky, off-pitch rendition of “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” in honor of Motown Week.

“We were unprepared. I am a little at fault, though I didn’t forget my lyrics,” Devin said, referring to Lazaro’s flub. (Minaj was so disgusted by the whole thing she dramatically ordered the trio to get off the stage.)

Devin insisted he’s not sad about getting the boot.

“Making the Top 10 was winning for me,” he said. That status secures him a spot on the “American Idol” concert tour this summer.

“What I’m looking forward to most is singing with the same people … but we’re not in a competition,” he said.

After the show, judges Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson both offered their help getting in Devin’s music career off the ground. Keith Urban bid adieu with a big bear hug.

“I have no regrets,” Devin said. “It’s all good. Sooner or later, everyone has to go except one.”



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