'American Idol' Finalist Rayvon Owen: The Band Calls Me 'Save On'

Rayvon Owen
 Michael Becker/FOX

Rayvon Owen in a promotional photo for "American Idol XIV."

During his run on American Idol, Rayvon Owen said the band had a special nickname for him: “Save On.”

Indeed, the Richmond, Virginia, native often found himself in the bottom of Idol voting, only to be saved every week on Twitter as part of the show’s Twitter Fan Save.

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Finding himself in that position week after week, he said, only made him want to fight harder in the competition. To hear him tell it on a conference call with reporters, he even became “comfortable” in that unenviable spot until he finished his journey in fourth place Wednesday night. 

“It definitely was a blessing in disguise, because I feel like it gave me that extra push and it made me want to persevere,” he said. “I felt like I gave my best performances under those circumstances and it put a fire under me that I didn’t know I had. I have grown from the experience and it’s made me a better artist."

One thing that put the singer at ease Wednesday night, he said, was the switch to singing all three planned songs before finding out who was going home. The blue chairs -- as opposed to the red chairs that turn green when a singer discovers they are “safe” -- were less stressful.

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“I think that made a huge difference,” he said. “There are no chairs, no voting, none of the bottom thing happens until the very end. I think that helped to loosen us all up and just get out there and have a good time.”

Owen said that growth will only continue now that his run on the show is over. He has already moved to California, and he happily shared that his record will mix a “soul influence” with the “pop edge” of Katy Perry or Betty Who.

“Singing is  what I am built to do, and that is what I will do for the rest of my life and that is why I am so grateful for this show. It is going to give me that opportunity,” he said. “Even though I didn’t win, I made it far enough. Also, do some acting and some of my other passions as well.”

Owen said there were many moments that he will remember forever-particularly his emotional homecoming to Richmond, where he shared a special moment with season 5 alum Elliott Yamin.

“[Yamin said] it reminded him of his homecoming, which was one of the best days of his life, and it reminded him of his mom, who has passed, and I think it was that day or around that day, so It was a special moment for him to see Richmond come back out and support me,” Owen said. “He said his mom would have been right there next to my mom cheering me on as she cheered him on several years ago. It was a really cool moment because I, myself, watched and voted for him and supported him on his journey, and what an amazing, talented guy. I was so shocked to see him there. What an amazing special day for me.”

Asked about mentor Scott Borchetta’s choice of having Owen sing Jason Derulo’s “Want to Want Me” a few weeks after Derulo performed that same song on the show, Owen said he was up to the challenge.

“Scott, I guess, was inspired by Jason coming on the show. He brought him in as a mentor, and I guess he saw some influence of Jason in me, which is really awesome. At first I thought, how can I follow that up?” he said. “But then I said, you know what, I am just going to get up there and have a good time and put my own spin on it and do it the best that I can and I think Jason, I don’t know if he was watching last night, but he would have been proud and surprisingly no one has compared or even said anything to my knowledge about it.”

Whether or not he performs that song on the tour remains to be seen. But first he is looking forward to next week’s finale (he won’t reveal who he is singing with yet) and a future that includes acting on music related shows like Empire and designing his signature look -- hats -- for fans.

“I think I’ve gone through the worst of it,” he said. “If I  can do what I have done on this show I can do anything.”


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