Man, it was like seeing plucky li'l Lisa Simpson get ejected from a saxophone recital. On last week's American Idol, 16-year-old Lisa Tucker got the boot, all because of you, the voting public... and perhaps because of her song choice, Idol champ Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You."
"I was prepared for anything," Lisa told TVGuide.com the day after her send-off, "so I just took it in stride. I knew that I was going to be OK whether or not I was going home."
Throughout the competition, Lisa was often hit with the judging triad's critique that her song choices were "too old" for her teen self. Hearing that again and again, she admits, "was tough, but everyone is entitled to their opinions. They were just telling me what they think, and I respect that."
As for the somewhat daring decision to channel no less than Kelly Clarkson during "songs of the 21st century" week, Lisa explains, "I just wanted to do a really big, belty song." After considering tunes by Alicia Keyes and Gavin DeGraw but facing clearance issues on one or both she says, "I made a full turnaround back [to "Because of You"]. I thoroughly understood the risk I was taking by doing it, but I wanted a real singer's song. I wanted to show everyone that I can really sing."
In a conference call with reporters, Lisa also had this to say about...
... Paris Bennett's emotional reaction to her ouster:
"We were roommates and we had [American Idol] 'school' together and everything, so we were really, really close. But we have the [Idol] tour during the summer, so there's nothing to worry about."
... her pleasant and reserved demeanor:
"Seriously, this is how I am all the time. I'm always smiling and optimistic."
... whom she would vote for at this point:
"I am not picking up that phone at all because I would have no clue whom to vote for. Everyone is so great at what they do."
... her post-Idol plans:
"I definitely want to go to college, and I want to continue my singing career. Who knows, maybe I'll [also] get into some TV and movie stuff."
... her favorite Idol memories:
"That first day in Denver, walking into the room and seeing the judges, was one of the biggest memories I have. And having Simon say that I was one of the best 16-year-olds on the show meant so much to me. But the best was being out on stage and being watched by millions of people."
... the pressure of being "one of the best 16-year-olds on the show":
"I knew there were going to be expectations. But if Simon said it or not, I would have expectations for myself. I'm probably my biggest critic."
... the prospect of the judges dictating specific song choices:
"Their comments would be better because they picked the songs, but would you feel as comfortable singing it? I'm not sure about that."
... the best advice she received during Idol:
"Stay true to who you are, because there are so many people saying, 'You should do this or do this.' You just can't listen to everybody."
Additional reporting by Angel Cohn