In the three+ seasons I've covered "American Idol," I've yet to hear anyone so elated to leave at No. 6 as contestant Carly Smithson (pictured with Syesha Mercado) apparently is.
Certainly, while most of the contestants have either been stunned, are still in shock or plain old sleep-deprived, Carly was euphoric - excited about having a couple of weeks off to be with her husband, go to the beach, hang out in the kitchen, and, for once, not having to sing something themed - during a phone conference today with reporters.
Here's some of what she had to say:
Q: Last night, it looked like you took being voted off quite well. Were you surprised to be in the bottom 2 and then leave?
A: I think at this stage, everybody was thinking they could go home. But I'm not that sad I’m leaving. I'll be back in two weeks to prepare for the tour and the finale. Being anywhere after Top 10 is a bonus. I believe I made enough of an impact to reach a fan base and make a cool record.
Q: You made a reference after last night's performance of "Jesus Christ Superstar" that you remembered the words. Did you forget them on Tuesday?
A: That song was last-minute. I had already learned "All I Ask of You" and then I changed the song choice after meeting Andrew Lloyd Webber. Yes, I fumbled on some of the lyrics. But, last night, I got them all right!
Q: How did you feel about the mentors you worked with on "American Idol"?
A: Andrew Lloyd Webber is so incredible. Actually, I'm not sure Broadway was challenging to any of us. There's such a vast amount of music from the Lloyd Webber catalog. Mariah Carey - it was a hard week for everybody. But she was so cool, normal and nice. I come from a bar. I didn’t know how a star was supposed to act.
Dolly Parton has such a positive outlook on everything. The room just lights up when she walks in. The whole experience was really cool. But, honestly, I'll be glad when I can sing my own songs.
Q: What did you feel about the notion that this season is becoming a popularity contest?
A: I agree a little bit. Contestants accumulate a fan base...Women really vote for this show, they vote for the boys. Why not? They’re charming and adorable! The girls had more of a struggle trying to get the popular vote.
Q: What about David (Archuleta) vs. David (Cook) in the finale?
A: It's anyone’s game. People have their favorites already. (Jason) Castro could look into the camera, bat his eyelids and go into his amazing falsetto; Brooke (White) could melt your heart. Nobody saw Michael (Johns) or Amanda (Overmyer) going home. There still could be another shocker.
Q: Of all the contestants, you seem to have the most unique fashion sense, even though Simon Cowell came after you on your style. Your thoughts?
A: I loved my dress last night, which I got at Century City Mall. I'm tattooed, so dainty wear doesn't exactly work for me. Every week, I wanted to stand out more. I know what Simon thought, but I wouldn't change anything I wore. I loved the blue dress for "Come Together."
I do need to clarify the tattoo on my arm. It's a geisha, not Amy Winehouse! I had it before she even came out. It's not not colored in because I haven't had the time. It bothered me (on the show) that it wasn't finished.
Q: What have you learned?
A: The show is amazing. It's such a huge platform to launch yourself off of. I might have been a little more upset had I been eliminated earlier. But now, I get a gift of two weeks to spend with my family. I'm excited to start writing songs. I'm looking forward to going home.
As for me, I won't change as a person. I'll go to the beach. Hey, I miss my pots and pans. I'm a kitchen gadget nut.
Note to you: The sked for this summer's "American Idols Live" tour has been set. It kicks off July 1 in Glendale, Ariz., and reaches Sacramento's Arco Arena on July 9. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m May 17. For more, click here, or check out my fellow 21Q blogger, Rachel Leibrock's, item below.