MK Nobillette

Before the live shows even began on American IdolMK Nobilette had already made headlines for being the show's first openly gay contestant to make it past the early rounds.

"I'm very obviously gay," Nobilette told judges Keith UrbanJennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr., shortly before she was ushered into the Top 30. And with those words, the frequent "are-they-or-aren't-they" aura that has pervaded Idol for 13 seasons, from Clay Aiken to Adam Lambert, was... if not shattered, at least dented a little.

How the American Idol judges failed MK Nobilette

Looking back on her Idol experience after her elimination last Thursday, Nobilette now says it never crossed her mind to try to hide her sexuality — and notes that, since her conversation with the judges was pre-taped, it was the producers' decision to include it in the final broadcast version.

"They didn't have to put it in there," Nobilette tells TVGuide.com. "That was their choice, which I appreciated. They ask what makes you different from the other contestants. Well, that's like the No. 1 thing that makes me different from the other contestants. Also, it's not just a singing competition. It's a reality TV show. And on reality television, the people viewing it want to have a sense of connection to the person who they are rooting for. So for my fans specifically, a lot of them were younger queer people. And just to say that, I think, makes a statement that I'm proud about it, which I am. I wouldn't want anyone to get the impression that I was trying to hide something that's important. And that also helps people get to know who I am, which is important."

Nobilette says the reactions from viewers were both positive and negative, but adds that she's somewhat surprised the issue became an issue at all. "There were definitely a lot of haters, and there were definitely a lot of people who were loving it," she says. "I never intended it to be a big deal. It's cool that it was. That's awesome. And it's good that it was so big in a positive light. But at the same time, it wasn't intended to be like that. I just said it because it's obvious."

Photos: Celebrities who are out and proud

Fans also weighed in on the way the 20-year-old — who prefers baggy jackets and backwards baseball caps in her day-to-day life — was styled for the show. "I was never uncomfortable with anything they picked out. The stylists were really, really amazing," she says. "They did some new things with my hair that I don't think I would have done, but not in a bad way. I just never would have thought of it. ... The only thing I think that was a dramatic change was the makeup, and that's I think what people keep making a big deal about. They're like, 'Don't change yourself for America. Don't let them change you.' It's kind of funny, because everybody's wearing [stage] makeup. So it didn't bother me that much. It bothered America more than it bothered me."

It's unclear whether her sexuality had any impact (positive or negative) on viewer votes, but Nobilette found herself in the Bottom 3 for three of the past four weeks, and was sent home after forgetting some of the words to Pink's "Perfect." "That was always a rough spot with that song," Nobilette admits of the problematic line. "I do love that song. It's a great song ... but it wasn't on my list. I was last to pick the songs, and I did have three songs that were taken before. So I wasn't as prepared as I should have been for that performance, and I think that that really messed me up."

Check out MK's answers to our American Idol exit interview lightning round below. Were you disappointed to see her go home?

Spring TV Preview: Must-watch new shows

1. Name three albums you would bring with you to a desert island. Allen Stone's albumAllen StoneBen Howard's first album, and ... so many good albums. Matt Corby's first album.

2. What was the first album you fell in love with?  When I was a really little kid, it had to be between 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, or Aaron Carter.

3. If someone wanted to torture you with a song on repeat, what would it be? I think you could pick any song. If you put any song on repeat forever, I think I'd probably hate it. That's a really hard question. "Stars" [by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals] because I've heard it so many freakin' times now because of Idol. I wish they had played more of Hollywood Week, because literally I'm pretty sure everybody sang that song at least once. And I had never heard it before. The only part of that song that I know is the, like, (sings) "Staaaa-aaars." It's like, oh my God.

4. Name a song you wish you'd written.  I wish that I wrote Ben Howard's "Gracious."

'90s stars: Where are they now?

5. If you could duet with anyone living or dead, who would you pick? I think it would be a lot of fun to do a duet with Amy Winehouse.

6. What's your most embarrassing karaoke or singing experience? There's been a lot of those. [Laughs] It might just be the Pink one, just because of how many people were watching it. I don't know. I try to not think that messing up things is embarrassing, because I just don't think it is.

7. What's your favorite album or song that you're listening to currently? I have J.Lo's "I Luh Ya Papi" on repeat. I really do. I'm not going to lie. It's been on repeat on my iPod for like three days now.

8. What song or artist made you want to be a singer? I don't know what made me want to be a singer. I've just always sang. I think The Little Mermaid, in all honesty. Just everything about The Little Mermaid.

9. What's your biggest musical guilty pleasure?  "Call Me Maybe." I love that song.

10. What's one song you would have loved to perform on Idol that you didn't get to? Jeremy Passion's "Lemonade" and Matt Corby's "Resolution."