Say what you want about American Idol finalist Kimberly Caldwell, but girlfriend acted like a true pro during the three-month-long competish. Despite everything that was thrown her way — Simon's theme-park barbs, Julia's hissy fits, Paula's corny good-luck charms — the 21-year-old Texan was a vision of grace and humility. And although Caldwell didn't capture the title, she did walk away with a rather nifty consolation prize: boyfriend J.D. Adams. That may explain why the onetime Star Search finalist was in such a chipper mood when she phoned TV Guide Online Tuesday afternoon to dish about all things Idol.
TV Guide Online: What have your emotions been like since last Wednesday?
Kimberly Caldwell:
There's a lot of anxiety, but I don't see getting voted off necessarily as a bad thing. I look at it as a new beginning, and I'm excited about getting started on my own career.

TVGO: Everyone believes the competition will come down to Ruben and Clay. Did you think you had a real shot to win?
Caldwell:
I wasn't really necessarily focused on winning the entire competition. I try to not even think of it as a competition, I try to just get out there for the people that support me and do the best every time.

TVGO: You held it together pretty well last Wednesday. Was there a moment afterwards when you lost it?
Caldwell:
I don't think anyone's actually ready to go, and I don't think they're happy. But I definitely don't think it's a bad thing.

TVGO: It was a little odd that you got more broken up the night Julia got the boot than after your own ouster.
Caldwell:
We've been on an emotional roller coaster, and not only emotional, but mental and physical as well. At that very moment, those were my emotions. It just hit me pretty hard knowing that Julia wasn't going to be living with us anymore. At that time, I was sad, and it's really hard to keep all of your emotions inside, especially in front of millions of people. It was just kind of in the moment.

TVGO: If you had it to do over again, would you have used waterproof mascara?
Caldwell:
I think it was a lesson learned. It's funny to go back and look at myself now. Me and Julia laugh about it. It's funny, because I called her right after my elimination, and she was absolutely a mess. She was crying as hard as I was on TV that night. We became really close. And she's actually going to come stay with me tonight in New York.

TVGO: Is J.D with you?
Caldwell:
No, he's not. I would love for him to be here. We had talked about it, but right now we're both financially unstable, so we're doing everything that we can to be together and to see each other as often as we can. But we talk every single day, and have every intention of staying together through whatever trials and tribulations come our way.

TVGO: How did your whole romance come about? Who approached whom?
Caldwell:
Well, we were both in Group 1 together, and we had all hung out and there was a little flirtation. I think I was actually the one who hit on him first. He's very innocent, very oblivious. We kept things under wraps for a while because we didn't know how we felt about each other exactly yet. And then we gave it a little while and decided to go ahead and let it all out.

TVGO: Are you two planning a duet?
Caldwell:
I'm hoping in the future we'll be able to unite and maybe do some entertainment gigs, maybe even acting or singing as well. I'd love to do both. I know that he wants to pursue his career right now, and so do I. So, we're trying to focus on our careers, but at the same time, be there for each other.

TVGO: Have any other Idol contestants hooked up yet? A lot of people are wondering if there's something going on between Clay and Carmen.
Caldwell:
No, they're just friends.

TVGO: Really?
Caldwell:
(hesitating) Yeah... they... I don't know. They're just friends.

TVGO: What did you think of Simon saying you belonged at Six Flags?
Caldwell:
I think a lot of people at Six Flags make a lot of money, so you never know.

TVGO: Would you consider a job at an amusement park?
Caldwell:
I... I don't know. That would be something I'd have to think about.

TVGO: Last question: Who's gonna win?
Caldwell:
Ruben.

TVGO: Why?
Caldwell:
Because he has a massive fan base, and he's incredible to watch on stage.