Devin Velez was sent home on Thursday night's "American Idol," leaving judge Mariah Carey in tears.
AccessHollywood.com's Laura Saltman caught up with the booted singer after show, where he remained optimistic about his future.
"I'm the least-experienced contestant here, I'm also the youngest. So, I wasn't expecting anything out of ‘Idol' – I was just hoping to sing," Devin, 18, told Laura. "The fact that I've made it this far being my first audition – I think that's a really good accomplishment. I've been blessed to be here. I've met some of the most amazing people."
Adding, "I'm not going to stop singing."
Devin said he was extremely encouraged by a conversation he had with Mariah following his elimination.
"She said, ‘First of all, this isn't good-bye' and second, ‘I loved seeing the artist that you are becoming,'" he shared. "Hearing that, coming from Mariah Carey – I'm not an artist yet — and so hearing that she sees one developing? That's huge!"
While "Idol" judge Nicki Minaj told Laura she wasn't at all surprised that Devin (along with Lazaro Arbos and Burnell Taylor) ended up in the bottom three, Mariah was shocked.
"[Devin] is just so talented," Mariah said. "He's beyond what I would have ever expected to see in a competition like this."
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