Sarah Burgess Sarah Burgess

At this point, you may not be able to tell Chris Richardson from Chris Rock, but chances are, you still vividly remember American Idol 6's Sarah Burgess — and she didn't even make the top 20. As soon as she'd tearfully told Ryan Seacrest that she'd lied to her disapproving dad in order to get away long enough to audition, the vocal powerhouse had every teenager who'd ever rebelled in her corner. And now they really have a reason to cheer her on: Although she was cut just shy of the top 20 finalists, she's landed herself a record deal, and this week she's released her first single, a so-catchy-it-oughta-be-criminal R&B track called "Didn't Matter That" (mastered by Herb Powers Jr. of Justin and Mariah fame). Needless to say, she's stopped crying.

TVGuide.com: What's the story with "Didn't Matter That"? You're not just saying goodbye to a guy there, you're saying goodbye and good riddance!
Sarah Burgess: I wouldn't give an ex the pleasure of having it dedicated to him. [Laughs] It's just a song that I think every girl can relate to at least once in her life.

TVGuide.com: What about you? How's your love life these days?
Burgess:
I actually just got married!

TVGuide.com: No way! Is your husband ready to be married to a pop star?
Burgess:
He's enjoying every minute of it. He is the most supportive person in my life. He videotapes my performances, saves newspaper articles…. He even taped every single episode of American Idol on DVD! It's so cute.

TVGuide.com: What about your parents? Now that your whole life is changing, are they supportive? Scared? Excited?
Burgess: More like confused! I swear, every day I have to explain the recording process, how things will happen. But they also are really excited that I finally have a shot to live my dream.

TVGuide.com: How would you describe your album, One?
Burgess:
It's a unique soulful pop sound. I have so many different tastes in music. It ranges from pop to classical. So on my album, I wanted to make sure we covered everything! We got pop, soul, rock, jazz. It's such a great mixture of everything I love.

TVGuide.com: How are you going to set yourself apart from all the other young Christinas and Britneys?
Burgess:
I think my individuality lies in my vocal inflections — I really have to believe what I'm singing in order to make the song my own. And I want to keep my clothes on! [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: Were you surprised that you didn't make the top 20 on Idol after they spent so much time on your story?
Burgess: I didn't know! I hadn't seen my audition show yet since I was in Hollywood, so I had no idea there was so much attention paid to my audition.

TVGuide.com: What was Simon Cowell like — evil incarnate or simply misunderstood?
Burgess:
[Laughs] He was nothing but nice to me. Really! I appreciate his honesty. I even made him laugh when I told him I secretly wanted to marry Clay Aiken!

TVGuide.com: Your husband will be thrilled to hear that. So, in retrospect, are you disappointed that you didn't go further on Idol or relieved that you won't have to be "Idol this" and "Idol that" for the rest of your life?
Burgess: I don't know how to answer that. I mean, I'm disappointed because I would have liked to have stayed on the show to see how far America would've voted to keep me on. But I'm also relieved because so much is happening for me now. I mean, I just opened for Daughtry — I can't be too sad!

TVGuide.com: Do you keep up with any of the other contestants?
Burgess:
Yes! Ian Bernardo.

TVGuide.com: Super-freak Ian Bernardo? You've got to be kidding.
Burgess:
He definitely is one of a kind, but he's such a nice and sweet guy.

TVGuide.com: He's quite a… um, diva. What will you be like when you make it? Will you insist on having your M&Ms separated for you by color?
Burgess: No. [Laughs] But I am a shopaholic, so I figure the more famous I get, the more shopping I can do! And I'd really love to meet Christina Aguilera, Stevie Nicks and Clay Aiken.

TVGuide.com: [Laughs] Why am I not surprised?
Burgess:
But my friends tell me all the time: "Don't forget where you came from." And I get what they're saying. I'll always stay true to myself.

For more on Sarah Burgess, go here.

The Sept. 24 issue of TV Guide features House star Hugh Laurie's most irreverent interview ever, as well as a look at the new season of How I Met Your Mother. Try four risk-free issues now

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