Fans of Bucky Covington will be glad to know that in an interview, he comes off pretty much exactly the way he has on “American Idol” this season – which is to say, a nice Southern boy with whom you might like to knock back a beer.

Speaking to reporters Thursday following his elimination from the Fox competition, the 28-year-old from Rockingham, N.C., punctuates his answers with “yes, ma’ams” and “thank yous” – even for those people who couldn’t wait to see him exit the show.

“It’s amazing how some people can love you so much, and someone else can just hate your guts,” he says of the Internet chatter about him and the other finalists. “But thank God people are different, “cause if they were all the same, we’d all live in Rockingham and listen to country. And that’d just be too crowded for me.”

He confesses to occasionally checking out what people have said about him, but he can’t take it too seriously. “If you hate my guts and love someone else,” he says, “hey, thanks for making their dreams come true then.”

In that latter category, he might include Simon Cowell, who hasn’t exactly been effusive in his praise of Covington recently. “Simon, a lot of times (in his music-business career) he signs boy bands and stuff like that,” Covington says. “So for him to like someone like me or Taylor (Hicks) it’s out of the question.”

No matter what we do, he’s not going to like us. We’re just not his thing.

“When he gives me advice – well, it seems like he used to give advice. But now he doesn’t so much give advice as just try to put you down – “I can’t believe he said that,’ which makes people talk the next day. I don’t mean to sound rude about it, but you can help and then you can just sell a show. And he does a good job with selling the show.

Covington was eliminated on Wednesday’s “Idol” results show, as voters didn’t take to his somewhat Southern-fried take on Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls.” While he didn’t seem too shocked with the results, he does think his final performance was a solid one, and he’s happy to depart the show that way.

“I’d rather leave on a high note than a low note. If I’m not going to win, eight is just as good as four to me,” he says. “It does seem like a lot of people are saying, “I didn’t think you should’ve gone,’ but I’d rather have that than “How’d you make it this far?”‘

After his round of post-show interviews and appearances concludes in the next week, Covington says he plans to head home to Rockingham and “take it easy” for a short time before the “Idol” tour starts later this year. After that, he’s likely Nashville-bound to try to sell his brand of country-rock.

“A lot of today’s country has got a little rock drive to it,” he notes. “The guitars are a little heavier, the drums are a little more beat on. It’s a good sound – I like the route country’s going, and I’m excited to maybe get into it.”

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