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Phil Stacey and Chris Richardson got hosed.

It’s bad enough that they were victims of Wednesday (May 2) night’s double-elimination on American Idol, thus missing out on the glitz and glamour of Boogie Night. In addition, though, they missed out on that most exciting privilege of American Idol contestantship — the solo exit conference call with a horde of clamoring journalists.

Instead, just as they shared ignominious defeat on Wednesday, Phil and Chris had to share their 30 minutes in the online-and-print media spotlight. Poor kids.

To make matters worse, Phil had to depart the call for several minutes to field a more important call from his Naval commander making sure that he had permission to do all of this week’s various publicity duties.

"When you belong to the United States government, you kind of wait to really participate fully until you get the official clearance," Phil explains helpfully.

The frustrating strictness of the U.S. military in times of war may also get in the way of Phil’s ability to remain on leave long enough to go on the epic Idol tour this fall. As of now, though, Phil likes his chances of playing for his myriad fans around the country.

"The last time that I spoke with my commanding officer, things looked very promising for me to be able to go on the tour, so I’m not really worried about it at this point," says Phil, whose Naval hitch runs through October 2008. "But I will say that it will break my heart to not be able to go on the tour. But at the same time, I’ve got a duty, and what’s important is that I fulfill my responsibility to the Navy first and foremost."

Whew.

Some highlights from the double exit interview:

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Chris, on tabloid rumors linking him to semi-celebs like Lauren Conrad:
"I just got out of a three-and-a-half year relationship back home. That’s about it.  All of the other rumors that are going on, all of that stuff was just rumors. Those people are just my friends and they’re acquaintances. But other than that, I’m pretty much single, but still respecting the fact that I just got out of a relationship with my girlfriend."

Phil, handicapping the competition from here: "I think that the four people that are left have individual strengths that set them each apart. I think Blake is most likely to be the most original contestant ever on American Idol. He just blew it out this week with Bon Jovi. It was incredible. Melinda is possibly the greatest singer I’ve ever heard on the show. Lakisha sings with so much passion, that it’s hard to listen to her and not get chills. And Jordin has got a range that lasts for days, and her upper notes just have so much power behind them. Honestly, I think it’s anybody’s ball game at this point. I’m going to be really looking forward to seeing how it goes from here on out.

Chris on his Wednesday night suspicions that the end was near:
"Me and Phil came to peace with the fact that we thought we were going home. When he called me and Blake’s name, I knew I was going home. You start to put pieces together.  I looked around. I seen the band setting up, and the guitar player grabbing a 12 string guitar, and I’m the only person with a 12 string guitar, so you put it together. I just think that if you go out there and you prepare for the worst, and hope for the best, I think you’re not so much let down."

Phil on the reactions of his Navy buddies to his success:
"I got a lot of support from my Navy buddies.  Upfront they made fun of me because I went to the audition to begin with. They joked about how I was wasting my time and everything. Of course, at the same time when they were being serious, they said they believed in me and everything. Once I got on the show, they were just nothing but every single week, they would text me little messages like, ‘Phil, you’re my idol,’ that kind of stuff. It was really sweet and really nice of them."

Chris on the genesis of his very special friendship with Blake Lewis:
"It started in Hollywood week. It was just one of those things where you just sort of click with somebody. Me and him had a lot of common with music taste and music style, personality traits, and loyalty to friendship. So it was just one of those things where we just bonded."

Phil on whether he’ll continue to be, as the Village People sing, in the Navy, after his hitch is up: "I can’t say a single bad thing about my time in the Navy.  I’ve absolutely loved every minute of it and my command knows that. But I didn’t enlist with the idea of a career in mind. I enlisted to do my duty and be a part of what was happening in the war against terror. I was going to do the first term and then move on. Especially with this kind of exposure, to be honest with you, I think I could do a lot more from my perspective, if I went out and released music and everything. At this point, I don’t have any plans of getting out early.  I want to fulfill my duty to the Navy."

Posted by:Daniel Fienberg