LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A glum sounding Michael Lynche said on Thursday that only time would tell if missing the birth of his first child would pay off now that he has lost out on the chance of being crowned "American Idol."
The 6 ft 1in, 300 pound (1.86m and 136 kg) personal trainer, known on the TV singing show as "Big Mike," said he had neither expected nor been surprised at being voted out of the contest, leaving three aspiring singers vying for the coveted title.
"America is a fickle creature...you just never know. I think I was consistent every week and always gave my heart every time I sang," Lynche said in a telephone conference call.
"I don't feel like I let anyone down...I think the way the wind blows with the (public) votes, you just never know...The top 4 is not such a bad place to be," he added.
Lynche's exit with just two weeks to go before the finale was more than usually poignant because he had been saved from elimination by the judges five weeks ago, and because his wife gave birth at home in Florida while he was in Hollywood during the early audition rounds.
"Because of the sacrifice at that time, I had to do well," he said, as his now three-month old daughter cried in the background.
"I don't think you can say anything is worth missing the birth of your child, and only time will let those wounds heal.
"But I think this definitely gives my family a good chance in the future. Personally, of course, I didn't want to miss it... but it wasn't a choice. This was what I needed to do for the family at this time," he said.
"American Idol" has been America's most-watched show for the past seven years and has launched the careers of Grammy-winning stars like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.
Lynche said he hoped to make an album in the future and to use his time on the show to maximize his opportunities.
Lynche's elimination leaves Crystal Bowersox, Casey James and Lee DeWyze in the running to win the 2010 contest.
Fox said they will sing two songs each next week -- one chosen by the judges and the other a personal choice. Canadian teen idol Justin Bieber, 16, will perform two of his hit songs on the results show on May 19.
Editing by Belinda Goldsmith