Think it's easy, being a contestant on American Idol? Try being a 16-year-old who has to squeeze three hours of school into a murderous schedule of rehearsals, fittings, video shoots, guest appearances and chats with the press. For Thia Megia, who was given her walking papers Thursday night, it's an experience she'll always treasure. But the first word out of her mouth when you ask her how she's feeling? "Tired."
TV Guide Magazine: Last week you had to move out of the mansion, take a trip to Arizona, work with the record producers, perform, and experience the emotion of Casey Abrams' save. Compare that to any other week in your life.
Megia: I've never had a week like that in my life. It was hectic, it was busy, but it was also so much fun.
TV Guide Magazine: What did you learn about becoming famous?
Megia: The main key is just to believe in yourself. Because when you do, you give it your all. When you're really passionate on stage, the whole audience will feel it. And that is the key to being successful. I have to be honest, I guess I have been doubting myself the last couple of weeks because on top of all the stress, it was hard to have time to rehearse and everything else.
TV Guide Magazine: What kind of doubts did you have?
Megia: I'm my own worst critic. I'm always asking everybody, "How did I do?" Because during my performance, I don't think about anything else, I'm just taken in by everything. Once the music ends, and you hear the audience cheering, you pretty much forget about what just happened. It's like you're in another world. And once it's finished, it's like, what just happened?
TV Guide Magazine: As the competition went on, did it give you more or less confidence to be surrounded by such talented singers?
Megia: You can't really compare yourself to anybody. I'll be honest with you, sometimes it can be intimidating, but when you think about it, we're all here for the same reason. I just put myself in everyone else's shoes and I just think about how hard we all worked to be here and how much we all deserve to be here. And deserve [to win] the title. You really can't decide the winner because everyone is so different and talented.
TV Guide Magazine: Lauren Alaina, also 16, was particularly upset when you were put in the bottom three. How would you describe your friendship?
Megia: Oh my gosh. When I first met her, I really wanted to know this girl because she's so interesting and so fun and so full of life. I remember the first day she told me that I was one of her most favorite people in the competition and that just made my day. Since then we've become best friends, and I think that the hours we've spent during class backstage, we've actually gotten to bond more. We tell each other a bunch of stuff. She knows me more than anyone else in the competition. She knows my flaws. She knows everything. I love her so much. I call her my guardian angel because she is. It's funny, because she's the bubbly one and I'm the more quiet one, but I guess that's why we're best friends.
TV Guide Magazine: You and Lauren both tried out when you were 15. Knowing what you know now, do you think that's too young?
Megia: You're never too young for something you really want to do, never too young to go after your passion. The age doesn't matter at all. If it's something you want to do, it depends on your will. This experience has been so wonderful, such a beautiful experience for all of us.