By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ousted "American Idol" contestant Casey Abrams said on Friday he was proud of bringing a fresh jazz twist to the TV show, but admitted that his signature growl might have been too much for audiences to take.
Abrams, 20, was one of the most musically-talented contestants in the 10-year history of the show, introducing audiences to the upright bass for the first time and often ignoring the advice of mentors and judges on song choice and style.
Abrams told reporters on Friday that he also plays piano, guitar, sitar, cello, clarinet, drums, melodica and accordion -- almost all of them self-taught.
"I feel that I have done something pretty cool in this competition. But so has everyone else," Abrams said, referring to the gospel sound of contestant Jacob Lusk and the folk twist of eliminated Paul McDonald.
"I think we are all doing our part to make 'American Idol' a little more different from last year and the years before, and to vary the genre," he said.
He envisioned his first album -- if he gets a recording deal -- as a mixture of rock and jazz, adding that the cover would "definitely have a beard and an upright bass."
"My goal is to bring that kind of music into popular culture. I just want to get (musicians) better known. I am just a middle man."
Abrams had been saved by the judges last month, but was voted off by the public this week after putting a quirky spin on the little-known Carole King song "Hi-De-Ho".
On Friday, he acknowledged he might have gone too far with the growl.
"It is how I sing when I don't think about it. I think maybe I gave the 'Hi-De-Ho' song a little too much. It's a gray area. It's hard to define what is a good growl and a bad growl.
"I want to do something different on stage than just be all chill," he added.
Abrams also denied rumors among "Idol" fans that he is having a romantic relationship with fellow contestant Haley Reinhart, describing her simply as "a very special musical friend"."
The exit of Abrams leaves five singers -- rocker James Durbin, bluesy Lauren Alaina, country singer Scotty McGreery, Lusk and Reinhart -- with a shot at the "American Idol" title and a guaranteed recording contract.
(Editing by Patricia Reaney)