Though she was the first Top 13 contestant to be eliminated on Season 13 of American Idol,Kristen O'Connor says she wouldn't have done anything differently — even though she was talked out of her original song choice for what ended up being her final performance.
"They ask us to send a list of three songs that we think we're going to sing, and it actually wasn't on my list," O'Connor tells TVGuide.com. "But then the producers were like, 'Oh, we think this would be a really good song.' They got really excited about it, and so I got really excited about it. ... It was kind of a last-minute type decision, but I was happy with it."
That seems like a generous statement, given that O'Connor got the boot. Does she have any regrets about the decision? "Well, in retrospect, yes," she admits. "I love that song and I'm happy with the song, but I just wish that America would have gotten to see more of me playing my guitar and more upbeat stuff. I feel like they only kind of saw one side of me. There's so much that I have to offer, and I'm just a little bit bummed that I didn't get to show all of that."
Still, she adds: "I have no regrets. ... I'm proud of everything I gave."
For her exit interview, we asked O'Connor to participate in our (new for Season 13!) American Idol Lightning Round to get a sense of her general musical tastes, and what viewers would have seen if she had gone further in the competition. Check out her answers below:
1. Name three albums you would bring with you to a desert island. I would bring definitely an Alicia Keys album for sure. I love Allen Stone. I would probably bring some Allen Stone. And ... I'm going to say Jessie J.
2. What was the first album you fell in love with? Oh, man. The first album I bought wasBritney Spears' [...Baby One More Time]. That was when I at that fan-girl age, and I was just obsessed. And I loved her and her music videos and all the stuff she did. She was so young. Yeah, I really loved her at that time.
3. If someone wanted to torture you with a song on repeat, what would it be? That's a tough one. I can't name a song in particular, but it would be one of those songs that are like scream-o music. I feel like the walls are closing in on me. I really appreciate all music, but that's a little tough for me. Super metal, when it's no singing, when it's screaming. Yeah. That's what I can't handle.
4. Name a song you wish you'd written. It's on Christina Aguilera's new album. It's called "Sing for Me." Ginny Blackmore wrote it. That's my anthem. That song means so much to me. The words, the melody of it. I love singing it. It's probably my favorite song right now.
5. If you could duet with anyone living or dead, who would you pick? Gosh. I would love to duet with Whitney Houston. She's a legend. She left her mark for sure, and she's incredible. That would be one for the books.
6. What's your most embarrassing karaoke or singing experience? There's tons of embarrassing home movies that my parents have. They have some video of me cheerleading while I'm singing. I was never even a cheerleader, but I'm just singing and dancing. That's definitely really embarrassing. I was maybe like 7 years old.
7. What's your favorite album or song that you're listening to currently? It's that Christina Aguilera song ["Sing for Me"]. That's definitely it.
8. What song or artist made you want to be a singer? One of my first, biggest inspirations was Christina Aguilera. I watched her on the Mickey Mouse Club. She was little like me. On the show, she was so little and she had a big voice. She was a big inspiration, for sure.
9. What's your biggest musical guilty pleasure? Justin Bieber. Oh my gosh, yeah. It all started with his first album. I was obsessed. I had a T-shirt. It's embarrassing. He's in this bad place right now. I'm hoping he gets his act together.
10. What's one song you would have loved to perform on Idol that you didn't get to? I would have loved to sing Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You." I love that song. I love singing that song. It's beautiful. Or anything with my guitar. There's so much I would have loved to do. But that's one.
American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.