Since her audition episode aired in January, 17-year-old prodigy Paris Bennett was considered a favorite to win, and throughout the season she continually impressed both the judges and the guest stars. However, in typical inexplicable “American Idol” fashion, the Fayetteville, Georgia, native continually found herself in the bottom two or three. And on Wednesday, after bravely tackling Prince’s “Kiss” and Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You” the night before, she was eliminated (see ” ’American Idol’ Viewers Kiss Paris Bennett Goodbye” ).
Q: To those watching at home, it seemed like you were just happy to be there and it never phased you to be in the bottom three or even when you were eliminated.
A: I was very, very happy last night, whether it was a good decision or bad decision, whether I stayed or I was going home, I was happy with whatever. I’m in the top five, I can’t really complain. Out of 150,000 people [who auditioned], look at where I made it. I’m just so grateful to have had the opportunity to share my gift and give my all and give 100 percent every night, time after time, to prove to you guys that I wasn’t just doing it to have the title of “American Idol.” It was to show you guys this is what I love and this is my passion. To myself I’ve already gotten the title of “American Idol” because I’m a role model, and to more than just little kids, but to adults and people my age. I’ve earned my title and it was my time to go.
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Q: Do you think it backfired that were you an early favorite?
A: Not at all. People made their judgments and they chose wisely. When it all comes down to it, in my mind, it was already planned. My journey was going to end somewhere. I never thought too much on it, just because I knew that chapter was going to close. In fact, I think it made me even more of a role model.
Q: Which performance were you most proud of?
A: I would definitely have to say I was most proud of my rock week. No one ever expected me to be able get through Queen. I was happy I made Queen happy and I was able to do a song that Freddie Mercury wrote just before he passed away (“The Show Must Go On”). That was the best week for me.
Q: Do you think your age worked against you? Do you wish you would have waited a few more years?
A: I don’t regret anything that has happened so far. I don’t think it did anything. When it all came down to it, it wasn’t something people really thought about. Being 17 is the greatest thing. I thank God that America got to see me grow up and be an independent woman.
Q: Can you tell us your thoughts on the final four?
A: Elliott possesses something so deep within himself that for him to be able to do the things he does when he’s on that stage, I honor him for that. He keeps it real. Taylor, that’s my big brother. He has so much soul in him, and again, he keeps it real. With both of them, they both have a sense of home, you never feel like you’re out of place. Katharine, very sweet, very classical. She’s just Katharine. She’s the beauty queen. Chris is definitely the rocker. He’s so intense with what he does, and that’s what makes him a great person.
Q: What style of music do you plan to pursue?
A: Since I’ve been on “American Idol,” I’ve been called the unpredictable one, so when I’m gonna do an album it’s going to be unpredictable. It will definitely have jazz, it will definitely have R&B, it will definitely have rock, since I stepped into a new era. I wanna give you guys a little bit of everything, because that is who I am.
Q: Any truth to the rumor that Beyoncé’s dad approached you about working with him?
A: It can’t really be confirmed, but I can say that Mathew Knowles is definitely a person I would love to work with. We’re in the midst of things, and hopefully the next time you guys see me, after the tour and the album, he’ll be a part of that.Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page, where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.