Melissa McGhee, <EM>American Idol</EM> Melissa McGhee, American Idol
Melissa McGhee got cut from Fox's American Idol (Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET) last week, but not before belting out a flub-free version  alas, one cut short by trigger-happy Fox affiliates in many markets  of

Stevie Wonder's "Lately" as the end credits rolled. Talk about "better lately than never."

The Tampa native tells TVGuide.com that she attributes her slipups (she botched the lyrics in rehearsal, in front of Wonder no less, then on stage during Tuesday's sing-off) to nerves, "definitely nerves."

"I started thinking about my lyrics way, way, way too much when I got on stage," she adds. "[That] threw me off."

Having repeated her major mistake, McGhee wasn't at all surprised that she didn't rock the vote. "I think it weighed a lot on the actual decision," she says, adding with a chuckle, "America's not that forgiving!"

In a conference call with reporters the day after her dismissal, McGhee also had this to say about...

... her last-minute song change:
"I was going to do 'Ribbon in the Sky,' but then I kind of doubted myself. Then I picked 'Superstition' and it was a big mess because it was [Bucky's] original [selection], and then he didn't want to do it and then he wanted to do it. So then I ended up going back to 'Lately.' I was not a person who grew up on Stevie [Wonder] or anything like that, I wasn't familiar with his music at all, so I had two days to learn it."

... who the ousted Idol wannabes like to win it all:
"Everyone that I've spoken with feels the same way I do: It's really up in the air. It's [all about] who performs the best every single week. They've got to bring it every week [or else be in] jeopardy."

... the shock of being joined in the bottom three by Ace and Lisa:
"Obviously they were shocked, too. It was crazy, yeah, but I think it's going to be a shocker if you put any of [the remaining contestants] in the bottom three."

... having input into her Final 12 makeover:
"Actually, you have a big say. For instance, I did pick out my dress... and my hair, more or less, was [Idol hairstylist] Dean[Banowetz]'s idea, which I totally agreed with. They totally listen to what you want."

... her own singing idol:
"Faith Hill is my biggest role model. She has this successful marriage and career... she's a successful mother.... She's just awesome all the way around."

... on rumors of a cold plaguing Idol contenders:
"There was actually a little bit of a virus going around and it kept getting passed around to everybody. But with me, [my throat problems were] more or less [caused by] the dry climate. I'm used to Florida's humid climate."

... her flawless-but-truncated encore:
"[That] was the best performance I've had on the show. Then everyone told me, 'They cut away from you so quickly.' I was like, 'Well, I remembered all my words, hit every single one of my notes and didn't crack.' It was great."

... last but never least, Judge McNasty:
"You can't ever try to read Simon's mind, that's for sure, because you have no clue what he's going to say. For instance, I thought he was going to butcher me [last week] and he told me it was one of my best performances. [You have to] just be prepared for the worst and the best."

Why do so many people risk making fools of themselves on shows like American Idol? Find out.