Former Hudsonite Caleb Hawley was eliminated from American Idol on Wednesday night's show after performing The Beatles' Please Please Me with his friend and fellow Idol hopeful Carson Higgins.
Fog was wafting over the strangely lit stage and Hawley's name was the first to be called. After seeing who else was being named, it began to set in on him that his shot at becoming the next American Idol were over.
"You start to realize the news won't be good when you're not standing next to people who gave a really strong performance," Hawley said.
Though it's the end of his run on national television, Hawley has had time since the show's taping to realize the good that has come from it.
"I'm in a good position," Hawley said. "I've been playing music full time for two or three years and I'm still able to go out and do what I love. I just may not be able to do it for the stadiums."
The national TV exposure gave Hawley a boost during his recent tour. He said that found himself playing in front of bigger crowds because of the show. Also, every time he returned from a gig on the night he was shown on American Idol, he had hundreds of Facebook messages, tweets, emails and blog comments showing support for him and rooting him on.
"The support has been really great," Hawley said. "It definitely helps cheer you up to know that so many people respect you. It's kind of like when I was growing up watching the Packers, and being so heavily into it, and so devasted if they'd lose. I almost feel like that's how it is for some of the fans—and TV makes it so much more dramatic."
Hawley returned home in New York on Thursday and is now in the planning stages of putting on what he calls a "Minneapolis Idol rejects show" in the Twin Cities sometime next month along with Sophia Shorai for a show.
He said he'll also be on the lookout for more opportunities to participate in reality shows such as The X Factor and America's Got Talent.
"I had so much fun doing this that I'm just going to keep going for it—any chance for more exposure," Hawley said. "You just realize that TV is such a massive platform and you don't realize it when you're singing and getting interviewed. The impact is huge when it's aired."
In addition to the "Minneapolis Idol rejects show," Hawley plans to spend some time working on his next album and playing shows in the New York area before making his triumphant return to Hudson late this summer. Hawley said he's scheduled to perform at the bandshell on Aug. 16. It will be his first performance in the City of Hudson since 2008.