And then there were 20. Fox's robust new season of American Idol (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm/ET) really and truly got underway last week when four of the two dozen semifinalists got shown the door, all because they were shown a paucity of auto-dialing and text-messaging love. TVGuide.com talked with Becky O'Donahue who, with Stevie Scott, Patrick Hall and Bobby Bennett, was sent packing about singing her swan song so soon.
TVGuide.com: What most pleasantly surprised you about your Idol experience? And what was the biggest disappointment?
Becky O'Donahue: What surprised me the most would have to be looking back to see how much I've grown. Going into this, you want to win, you want to do your best, but you never actually think that you're going to change or that you're going to become a better performer and artist for it. As far as being booted off this early, of course that's disappointing, but that was yesterday I'm moving forward and I can't wait to see the opportunities that will now present themselves to me. American Idol put me on a stage in front of millions and millions of people. I'm very anxious and, again, very excited to see what doors have been opened.
TVGuide.com: Much of the preseason hype was about how this would be the cattiest, most backstabbing-est Idol group yet. Did you sense any of that?
O'Donahue: No, I didn't. People want publicity and they want controversy.... You have 24 different people from 24 different walks of life and with 24 different personalities, and I think that under the circumstances we were put in, we got along fabulously and very professionally.
TVGuide.com: In retrospect, what would you have done differently last Tuesday night?
O'Donahue: [There was] that stupid last note at the end of my song I nailed it every single time except on TV. But no, I wouldn't have changed anything. I was very happy with my song selection [Patti Smith's "Because the Night"]. I went out there, I had a great time.... Maybe I was a little nervous, but I was really proud of my performance and the way I handled myself.
TVGuide.com: Who's your personal pick to make it to the final four, if not win the whole enchilada?
O'Donahue: Oh, I don't know. I would never pick a favorite because they're all working so hard and trying to perform the best that they can.
In her conference call with reporters, O'Donahue also addressed the topics of...
Might she follow up her Fear Factor and Idol appearances with another reality show?
O'Donahue: You know, I haven't even thought about it. These situations just arise. I haven't given any thought to doing another reality show.
Did her Idol roommate, Brenna, live up to her diva reputation behind closed doors?
O'Donahue: Brenna is a wonderful girl and we got along fabulously. The way she is on camera is the way she is. We never, ever had a disagreement, ever. We always respected each other.
What is her take on the press' early favorite, Paris Bennett?
O'Donahue: She's a very nice girl, she's a great performer. Just like myself and the rest of the contestants, she puts her all into every performance and tries to be the best that she can be.
And you had to see this coming does she have any regrets about the Maxim pictorial she did with her twin sister, Jessie? And would she do Playboy?
O'Donahue: I don't regret anything. I was a model for hire and it was a normal shoot. As far as Playboy, no, I don't see that in my future right now. It's not something I would want to do with my career. I'd be flattered, but I'm not interested right now.