When all was said and done, she simply couldn't squeak by. Paris Bennett's fate on Fox's American Idol (Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET) was sealed with a "Kiss" Prince's, namely as her first performance of the week was deemed by the always quotable Simon as "screechy and annoying." Not even Paris' solid spin on Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You" could keep the reality contest from proceeding without her.
Does the 17-year-old Georgia peach think she fell prey to the "I won't bother voting for her because everyone else will" syndrome? "Not at all," she tells TVGuide.com. "People chose wisely as they decided each contestant's fate. In my mind, it was already planned that my journey was going to end somewhere.
"I'm not saying that I never had this [dream] of being the American Idol," Paris continues, "but I never thought too much about it."
As for the question asked (and never really answered) each week of the newest castoff "Who do you think will win?" Paris... has no answer, despite the field being narrowed down to just four. But she did offer up her personal take on each of the remaining contenders. Starting with Elliott Yamin, she says, "What makes him so special is that he possesses something so deep within himself. For [a diabetic] to be able to do the things that he does when he's on that stage... I honor him for that. He's the real deal."
Turning her attention to Taylor Hicks aka "Tay-tay," aka "my big brother" Paris declares that "he is as sweet as pie. He has so much soul in him." Chris Daughtry she sums up as "definitely the rocker. He is so intense at the things that he does, and that's what makes him a great person."
As for the lone gal left in the competition, Paris described Katharine McPhee as "very sweet, very, very classical. She's just... Katharine. The beauty queen. The Barbie. There's not one person like her."
In a conference call with reporters, Paris also had this to say about...
... turning the tables on the judges:
"I honestly took every negative thing they said and every positive thing they said, and I made the negatives be positive. I never, ever really took it to heart and dwelled on it, because every week I knew I was supposed to be ready for a new judgment."
... her Best. Week. Ever.
"I know this will sound so weird, but I was most proud of my rock week, [singing a song by] Queen. No one ever expected me to be able to get through that week, but I was happy that I made Queen happy and that I was able to sing a song by Freddie Mercury. That was the best week for me."
... her plans for her 18th birthday, on Aug. 23:
"I'm thinking about having a big party, maybe at a roller-skating rink. I love to roller-skate."
... the rumor that she's signing on with Beyoncé's manager-father, Matthew Knowles:
"It can't really be confirmed. I can say that he is definitely a person that I would love to work with. Hopefully by the time my album [is ready], he'll be a part of that."
... that... that... speaking voice:
"This is what I was blessed with. It's what makes me unique and different from the contestants I was with, and people in general. I wouldn't change anything that was created [about] me. I appreciate my voice in every aspect."
... being utterly uncontroversial (for better or for worse):
"That's who I am. 'The lovable one.' I'm not a person to start things up. I always have to be the squeaky-clean one, but I will let you know when you're out of place."
... "sticking it" to Ryan Seacrest last week:
"I always have a piece of gum at the roof of my mouth. So when he said, 'OK, Paris, you're going to sing' and held his hand out, I said, 'Ryan, you want to hold this for me?' And I took it out and gave it to him just to show America that I'm ready for any given moment. There'll never be a time they'll catch me off guard!"
Why do so many people risk making fools of themselves on shows like American Idol? Find out.