I can't recall chatting with an eliminated "American Idol" contestant who sounded as exhausted as Amanda Overmyer (pictured). She admitted getting to bed at 1:30 this morning, getting up at 3:30 and starting - I assume - East Coast interviews at 4 a.m.!
So props to her for putting up with us print folks for half an hour today.
Here's some of what she had to say about her elimination:
Q:Were you as shocked as your fans probably were that you were the one to go last night? Did you see the results in Ryan Seacrest's hand?
A:No, but I tried. I was kinda not really surprised. I didn’t go in with any preconceived notions. It's just such a crapshoot being a square peg in a round hole.
Q: Will you be heading back to Indiana and your job or pursuing the music thing?
A: I'm definitely going on to the next step because I'm capable of moving on. I’ve owned a home in Indiana for three years. I'll give this music thing about six months and then probably go back to my career, but I have no idea if there are any (entertainment) options in L.A. It's just a waiting game for me.
Q: You actually sound optimistic. Would that be accurate?
A: Absolutely. Yesterday wasn’t the most traumatic thing that has happened to me. I got voted off a TV show. But I was privileged to stay on until 11. I'm just cut from a different mold than anyone else. But I found it warming that I had that much fan support.
Q: Can you say what was your favorite and least favorite performances?
A: I loved the songs I performed on the big stage. I'm more in my element with the crowd. All the group numbers were my least favorite. Personally I liked the Kansas (song), but I got slammed on it.
Q: The show's producers are always excited about unique personalities. Does that benefit a performer like you?
A: It benefits anybody with any kind of distinction. "American Idol" is an amazing platform to start from. It's the biggest we could ever get.
Q: At one point, (judge) Simon Cowell was joking with you about "smiling." How serious did you take the three judges' comments?
A: When I was done singing, I was done singing. I was respectful and listened when the judges give comments. But it wouldn’t sway me one way or another on what I would do. I performed like me, looked like me. Their comments were targeted at winning the contest, and that wasn't what I was about.
Q: Any predictions on which contestant you think could win?
A: No. All I can say is Syesha (Mercado) wasn’t favored last week. And David Archuleta got slammed by the judges. It’s anybody’s game.
Q: You really looked down at being in the bottom three. Were you surprised because a lot of people were predicting Kristy Lee Cook would be off?
A: Actually, I thought more than likely I would be done. I know how different I am. I target an older, different audience than maybe the show provides.
Q: The three of you (including Carly Smithson) were in a tense position. Did you say anything afterward to Kristy?
A: She thought it was her (who would go). I told her to chill out and stop worrying.
Q: Any regrets about song choice on Tuesday (or any other night) or about performing first?
A: No, I don’t think it was song choice. If it hadn't been "Back in the U.S.S.R," it would have been another song that sounded like me singing it. You'll never hear me whining I was first.
Q: Are you sad about finishing 11th and not going on the "American Idol" tour?
A: I definitely had hopes for position six or seven, but it is what it is. Yeah, it (the tour) was somewhat of a goal, but I'm not exremely disappointed. The ultimate goal is to get my own tour. They’ve got the best group (Final 10) for it.
Q: What about the social side of being a contestant? Did you bond well, fit in?
A: I tend to keep pretty sheltered. I can count on two hands the friends and family I rely on. Sure, there's an element of camaraderie there. Everybody is going through the same thing. They’re the only ones who understand. Carly was my roommate. We spent the most time together and had things in common.
Q: You stuck to your musical roots. Were you concerned about being forced to change your personal look (hair, clothing) to fit the show?
A: Yeah, I do my own thing, but I was definitely kind of nervous about that (the hair and clothing), but they (stylists) were really good to me.
Q: Any last thoughts?
A: It's just a good feeling that somebody who's different like me gets this opportunity. And it's good to know there were people out there who kept me in as long as they did.