Amber Ojeda knew that this week's Platinum Hit rapping challenge would pose a problem for her, but given her emotional outpouring upon her elimination, she didn't know how much of a problem it would be. Criticized for not contributing enough and also for the supposedly small amount she did contribute (guest judge Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, for example hated her line that described "running rhymes through my head in my canopy bed") to Jackie's embarrassing rap about being white, Ojeda left the competition in tears and doubt. Below, she talks about getting her confidence back, how Kara DioGuardi offended her, Nick's lechery and why she thinks the warzone vibe of the show is counterproductive.
In your extended exit interview on Bravotv.com, it seemed like you were in a rough place in life when filming this show. You said you didn't have a house or a job.
Amber Ojeda: I put everything in storage because I couldn't afford to pay rent while I was gone filming the show. Everyone on the show fully believes in themselves and expects to go [far]. When I ended, it was devastating.
Are you in your own place?
Ojeda: Yeah, I'm not slumming it on people's couches anymore. I'm fine.
Do you regret putting all your eggs in the Platinum Hit basket?
Ojeda: I don't. I was doing well musically before I went on the show and this was just another extension of exposure and publicity and gaining fans that I wouldn't have gained otherwise. To take a step back and look at it from a larger perspective, it was a wonderful experience. There were beautiful people both on production and in the cast that I'm happy to know.
There was talk about you not putting enough of yourself forth. What do you think of your portrayal on the show?
Ojeda: I was really surprised they portrayed me as silent. I have a personality, I swear to God. I was an active participant. I played a part in all of my group challenges. It was disappointing, so what are you going to do?
You said you didn't want to work on Jackie's novelty rap song (sample lyric: "I wanna be a super duper rapper / But as it now stands I'm still a cracker"). Do you think it was the reason for your downfall?
Ojeda: Anybody watching the show and anybody participating that day knew 100 percent that we were going to lose. We weren't going to place with that song, not when we were up against songs that had substance and character. It was a "Weird Al" Yankovic song.
The rationale behind your elimination was weird: you were accused of contributing the least to the song, but it was a song that the judges didn't like. I thought that should have exonerated you.
Ojeda: Right? Exactly! It's so twisted with the judging. I don't know. It's a game based around talent, but it's also a television show. I respect everybody's decision and I have to keep it moving.
Kara said one of your comments in your defense (regarding how well you work with others) struck her as something a nurse would say, as opposed to a songwriter. Did that offend you?
Ojeda: I found it really offensive. I thought it was a cheap shot. It was a weird contradictory insult. It was saying that I have a huge heart, which I do, and that I should go into the service industry of helping people. But that's exactly what music does for some people, specifically mine. It was weird.
What did you think about Nick's frequent references to wanting to have sex without throughout the episode?
Ojeda: It's not a surprise. Nick is a sweetheart. He texted me yesterday with, "Sorry," and I didn't respond, so he texted, "Sorry," again. It's a TV show. It's quirky little one-liners like that propelling it. I'm flattered. I've always been lucky with boys and Nick is not an exception, clearly.
I got the sense from Karen last week that she's more interested in performing than songwriting. Where do you fall on that continuum?
Ojeda: I would say half and half. I write all the time. I write more than I perform. I did two shows this week and I did the Roxy last week, so I love performing. I think if I had to choose, writing is more important to me. When you take a classic song that came out in the '50s that touched everyone's heart then, and then someone covers it in 2011, that song still speaks to people. More than the performers, it's the words behind it.
In your extended interview, you also said that the show made you question whether your writing was worth anything. Are you still questioning that?
Ojeda: I got over that the moment I walked out of that room. I walked into that exit interview within 20 minutes of that whole experience [of elimination] and it was heartbreaking on a level I haven't experienced before. It was very much a personal attack on your art, and art is like babies. I think in that moment, I lost sight of the bigger picture.
Did the show help your writing?
Ojeda: The show helped me experience what working with people that I possibly don't like would be like, but I think if I walk into a session that has such chaotic, negative energy and people being rude to each other, I'll walk right out of that session. Good music doesn't get created from that kind of experience for me. [The show] was kind of a warzone, and that didn't work for me.
You said you went on the show for exposure. Has it paid off?
Ojeda: Yeah. I have an amazing fan base already. I'm in the 4,000's on Facebook. I was one of the top artists on MySpace. I've been hustling this Internet marketing and the Reverb Nation game for a long time. I have seen more fans because of this show, but the show didn't make me. I do think it's been a wonderful addition.
Have you been talking to me from your canopy bed this whole time?
Ojeda: [Laughs] Yes, I have. There's a My Little Pony nightlight on the wall. Of course. Doesn't everybody give interviews from canopy beds?