The emotional farewell of Lindsey Cardinale came as no surprise to those who watched last Wednesday's American Idol. Still, couldn't resist asking Linds to relive her last painful moments — we're wicked that way — and to give us the Top 12's take on Mario Vazquez' mysterious goodbye. Who helped with song selection? Yours didn't seem to play to your strengths.
Lindsey Cardinale:
We always go by what we want to do. The first time I did my [own] song selection, [the judges] didn't like it. It worried me and stressed me out, but I hoped with 30 million people out there, maybe someone would like it. It's too hard to think of something the judges are gonna like, that you know and can sing. So I performed what I knew and wanted to do... Now here I am.

TVG: Why did Ryan Seacrest look so upset, almost choked up, when he introduced your final clip montage?
He gets attached to us. It touches me. The hardest part is watching the video clips. [Sigh] You're gonna see 10 more of those.

TVG: Did Mikalah Gordon drop the F-bomb right after Ryan announced that she'd have to wait until after a commercial break to learn her fate?
I was off in another world. I wasn't paying attention. I don't know if she did cuss or not — I hope she didn't!

TVG: How hard was it to sing a chipper song like "Knock on Wood" after being eliminated? You were so gracious to go down to the judges while performing and crying at the same time.
It was definitely hard, especially after I watched that clip montage, and I turned around and Ryan handed me the microphone. I was like, "OK, what do I do with this thing?" Then the music started and I had that lump in my throat, but I just had to swallow it and give America one last impression of me. It's not easy, but we're reaching to be stars, so if you have a show to do, you do it, no matter how bad you feel. If I start crying, I start crying....

TVG: Were you shocked that Nikko Smith — who was only there because Mario quit — got to stay?
Well, no, because one performance can do you in. That's probably what happened to Nikko. He came back and he did an awesome job, so I'm glad that he's still in. We were glad to have him back. We're still sad that Mario left, but we do respect him. That was a tough decision that he had to make, but if he has personal reasons, we support him 100 percent.

TVG: What was everyone's reaction to Mario's leaving? Have you spoken to him?
No, I haven't talked to him. I'm sure some of the others have. We're still surprised and we're still shocked — I can speak for everyone.

TVG: Would you ever quit American Idol for any reason, Lindsey?
No, I couldn't imagine quitting on my own. It's one thing to just not make it, like me, but it's another to not allow yourself to make it. In Mario's defense, he had to do what he had to do. But I'm just saying in general, if that's my dream, I'm not going to quit under any circumstances. If he had family reasons, then he made a good decision by putting aside something that he's always wanted to do.

TVG: One of our readers says you have "the full, sensuous lips of Angelina Jolie." Ever been compared to her?
Never been compared to her. [Laughs] That's definitely the first and most likely the last time! But that's cool.

TVG: So what celebs do you get compared to?
I don't know if she's a celebrity, but even before I auditioned for American Idol, everybody has told me I look like Julia DeMato from the second season. I thought she was my age, but come to find out, she's like 25. I'm 20. Usually, when people tell you that you look like somebody, you never see it. But I do see it in her eyes and her hair — it's really weird.