The trio — made up of brothers Wesley and Keaton Stromberg and their buddy Drew Chadwick — were positioned as the season’s resident heartthrobs and their fun-loving performances of songs like The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” and Alicia Keys’ “No One” were generally well-received by all the judges (although Britney Spears and especially Demi Lovato took their shots some weeks). But as soon as the show decided to reveal the vote rankings during the weekly results, there were signs of trouble.
“Honestly, I only feel happy right now,” Wesley Stromberg told reporters after the results show. “We get to go and make some badass music right now and not be under any restrictions.”
“There’s tons of different things to take into consideration,” Drew Chadwick adds. “Bottom line is we had the dopest experience. We got everything we really wanted out of this competition, which was a solid international fan base, we expanded our comfort zone by stepping out of it, we learned how to do interviews. It was like training, like music industry on Miracle-Gro. We just learned a lot and now it’s over and we’re about to go do it for real. We built the foundation we entered the competition to build.”
Although they’re clearly disappointed, all three guys seem to be taking the results in stride. “It’s all about the mass majority of people who watch the show and who’s appealing to them specifically,” Chadwick reasons. “We might be killing it in social networking but it all comes down to the vote.”
“They say it’s 40-year-old women and up who are the main voters,” Stromberg says. “Sometimes maybe some skater surfer punks… they don’t get it.”
The guys add that both Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid have expressed interest in signing them to a recording contract, as viewers have seen on the show.
Chadwick is particularly understanding on the subject of L.A. Reid’s decision to leave the show after this season: “I think L.A. Reid is more of a creative, behind the scenes production type of dude. Reality TV is more about the TV show and producing the television show more than the music. Me and him have a lot in common that sense.”
Chadwick acknowledges that the group has had to make some compromises in order to try to find success on the show, and he admits to being happy about letting that burden go.
“The thing is for the past couple weeks I haven’t been in the best mood because I felt like we weren’t staying true to who we were,” Chadwick explains. “But bottom line is in any industry you have to make certain sacrifices if you want to work your way up that career ladder. We had to expand in order to reach out to a bigger demographic and get more votes even if that meant doing songs we didn’t like. Last night we got to resurrect the true us and prove to everybody, ‘Yo, we’re still here, we just had to play by the rules a little bit.’ Last night was almost damage control. We got to be us again.”
And he hopes that they’ll continue to be themselves as they embark on a full-time music career. Although all three of the guys are songwriters, Chadwick writes most of Emblem3’s material and he has a clear vision for what he wants to do next. “The stuff you hear on the radio, I feel people are starting to get over it,” Chadwick says. “It’s starting to sound the same. There’s nothing real and there’s no emotion behind it. I want to put a real flavor into [the music]. I want to take that and harness that into giving out good messages, having real positive emotion backing the music. Music without emotion is like sex without emotion, it’s pointless.”
Now that they’re no longer in the competition, the Emblem3 guys are free to support someone else to win — but it’s a difficult choice to make considering how much all the contestants have bonded throughout the year. “I love all of them,” Stromberg says about the top three. “I want Tate [Stevens] and Carly [Rose Sonenclar] and Fifth Harmony to win.”
But when the question changes to who’s most deserving, Chadwick doesn’t mince words. “I’m just gonna get real with you guys,” he says. “Carly is 13 years old, she’s an amazing singer, she’s going to be doing great things with the talent she’s been given. Tate is a little bit older. He’s amazing, he’s been playing music for a long time, he’s a family man, he has a great heart, he has pure intentions, he’s a good guy. I feel like he really deserves this. He needs a break. I love Tate. I love Carly and I love Fifth harmony too, but I think he’s the most deserving.”