'Idol': What's Next For Chris Daughtry?

May 11, 2006 - Chris Daughtry plans to parlay “American Idol’s” boot off the show into a launch pad for the music career he’s dreamed about his entire life.

“There’s gonna be a flooding of opportunities, I can’t really talk about them,” the 26-year-old told reporters Thursday, one day after viewers shocked just about everyone and voted him off the TV talent show. “I’m going to use this to launch my career.”

Daughtry, who dreamed of becoming a rock star while working in the service department at a Greensboro car dealership, said he’s considering whether to pursue fronting an established rock band or launching a solo career.

“I’m a songwriter myself,” he said. “To be able to launch my own career would be a dream” come true.

The buzz around Daughtry for weeks has been that he could end up as lead singer with the band Fuel. He performed the band’s song “Hemorrhage” on a recent “Idol” show.

Daughtry was coy with reporters when asked during a conference call about a possible big-name offer.

“Does it start with an F?” he asked a reporter who said she knows which band is behind the offer.

His wife, Deanna Daughtry, said she’s not sure which option he should pursue, but either way music is all he’s ever wanted to do.

“He’s got a lot on him and hopefully he’ll have a lot of wisdom there,” she said. “The public forgets so fast about those idols once they get off the show. I just hope they don’t forget about Chris.”

Daughtry, who said he still planned to make North Carolina his home, shunned “American Idol’s” standard pop tunes for his own energetic style. Many observers thought the shaved-head rocker from McLeansville would win this year’s competition.

Instead, the night after performing two Elvis Presley songs, Daughtry and fellow contestant Katharine McPhee, 21, had the next-lowest vote total out of four contestants. McPhee forgot some of the lyrics in her “Hound Dog/All Shook Up” medley on Tuesday’s program.

Daughtry performed “Suspicious Minds” and drew strong reviews from judges. Paula Abdul said, “See ya in the finals.”

Judge Simon Cowell said his second song -- a rendition of “A Little Less Conversation” -- was “flat” and not as good as the first performance.

Daughtry, who said he doesn’t regret anything he did on the show, said he was shocked to get voted off because so many people had picked him to win, which may have kept his fans from casting votes.

“They didn’t have to vote as hard, and I think that was the downfall, in my opinion,” he said, refusing to critique the other three finalists. “It was definitely a gut-wrenching moment and I was not expecting it, even a little bit.”

Some fans around his hometown fear their votes were mistakenly credited to one of the other contestants because they’d get the other hopeful’s voice thanking them for the call instead of Daughtry’s, family friend Tracey Adams said.

“I just feel like something went wrong,” said Adams, who has helped sell Daughtry T-shirts. “We are getting calls from all over the country. People saying, ‘I’m never going to watch it again, it’s rigged.’ “

One music industry expert said it definitely shouldn’t be the end for Daughtry, who has a great opportunity to cash in as a solo artist because of the equity he’s built on the show.

“I think he should definitely pursue that at this point,” said Jeff Walker, president of AristoMedia, a Nashville-based company that develops and promotes music artists. “He’s got a lot of people that like him.”

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