Considered a favorite since being praised at her initial audition, 16-year-old Anaheim, California, native Lisa Tucker breezed to the finals but struggled the last three weeks, especially with song selection. She was eliminated Wednesday after the judges ripped her rendition of "Because of You" (see "Lisa Tucker's 'American Idol' Run Ends").
MTV: How did you decide on singing Kelly Clarkson this week?
Tucker: I was going through a whole list of songs and just made a full turn around back to this one. I thoroughly thought out all the risks I was taking doing it, but I just wanted a real singer's song. I wanted to show everyone I could really sing.
MTV: What else were you considering?
Tucker: Some Alicia Keys songs and Gavin DeGraw songs, but it's tough to get songs cleared.
MTV: You seemed so at peace last night.
Tucker: I'm just an optimistic person, I guess. I was prepared for whatever was going to come. Either you're number one or everyone's going to have the time where they go, so I just have to be satisfied with how far I've gotten.
MTV: Were you shocked to see Katharine [McPhee] standing next to you in the bottom two?
Tucker: I was a little surprised to be honest.
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MTV: Paris [Bennett] seemed especially upset.
Tucker: We're roommates and we had school together, so we were really, really close. But we have the tour together this summer, so we have nothing to worry about.
MTV: Do you think you were splitting votes with her?
Tucker: Not really. We're different in a lot of ways, so that didn't cross my mind. There's votes being split every which way.
MTV: In your audition Simon called you the best 16-year-old the show had seen. Did that add to the pressure?
Tucker: My first inkling was, 'Oh my God, thank you so much.' I definitely knew there were going to be expectations, but whether he said it or not, I would have expectations for myself. I'm probably my biggest critic.
MTV: There was Chicken Little and Mandiva. Did you have a nickname?
Tucker: My fan club was the Mighty Tucks, since I'm from Anaheim [home of the Mighty Ducks hockey team]. So I guess I'm the Mighty Tuck.