What's the most disturbing trend of the new American Idol season? Contestants trying to outwit Simon. Case in point: After Kimberley Locke belted out "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" last week, Simon lauded her vocals but docked her points in the personality department. Instead of taking the back-handed compliment and walking away gracefully, the 24-year-old administrative assistant from Nashville got into a verbal tussle with the meanie judge. (Gee, guess who won?) When are these folks gonna learn: They are there to sing; Simon is there to be nasty. Naturally, when we caught up with Locke, we took her to task for taking Simon to task for taking her to task.
TV Guide Online: Why did you get into a bickering match with Simon?
Kimberley Locke: My initial take on it was that it was kind of personal, the fact that he said I didn't have a personality. It kind of hurt my feelings. But I realize that that's what Simon does. By me coming back at him... he strategically pulled my personality out of me. He wanted to see my personality at that point, so he got what he wanted. I was totally not prepared for that, though. I was very shocked.
TVGO: Wouldn't it have been better to walk away gracefully?
Locke: Well, I think you can come back gracefully, without just standing there and letting him slam you. Sometimes, I think he says some things just to get a rebuttal. He doesn't want you to necessarily just stand there and take it.
TVGO: Are you bummed that Frenchie's been disqualified?
Locke: I am, naturally.
TVGO: Have you spoken to her?
Locke: Very little.
TVGO: Fans are circulating a petition to get her reinstated. Do you hope it works?
Locke: I don't even know anything about it.
TVGO: Just curious: Who was the contestant who was too intimidated to sing with you and Frenchie during the preliminary round?
Locke: You know, I don't even remember her name. At that point, there were a lot of contestants still in the competition, so I don't even know who she was.
TVGO: It was rather risky of you to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" twice. Why not go with something different?
Locke: Simply because that's what I was more comfortable with, and making it into the top 10 was very important. I needed to be comfortable with my song choice.