Stephanie Edwards sailed through the semifinals, but the 19-year-old from Savannah, Georgia, struggled to stand out among the competition once it got down to the final 12.
Ultimately, her rendition of "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," made famous by Dusty Springfield, failed to impress the judges and became her swan song (see " 'Idol' Down To Final 10 As Stephanie Edwards Gets The Boot").
Q: When Jennifer Hudson was eliminated on the third season, the whole "three-divas theory" was that she was fighting for the same audience with Fantasia and LaToya London. Do you think the same thing happened with you and Lakisha and Melinda?
A: The judges definitely compared me to Lakisha and Melinda, and that's when I tried singing more ballads and big vocals. I should have stuck to what I do best, which is [to] put on a show and perform more, and not all the belting and everything. I just lost myself and never found it in time. And I was trying to please the judges and I should have pleased myself and America.
Q: Do you think those comparisons were fair?
A: I don't, but they're going to say what they feel. They're the judges, they can say what they want. But I always thought we were very different.
Q: How surprised were you to be eliminated?
A: Just because [of] my performance from the night before, I had a feeling I was going to be in the bottom.
Q: Would you have done anything differently?
A: I would have definitely chosen an upbeat, faster song.
Q: You were also not on camera as much in the earlier rounds as a lot of the other finalists. What do you wish we would have seen?
A: That I'm not as mature as they think I am. I guess I seemed pretty mature, but I'm actually kinda immature. That kinda sucked. I don't think people got to see the goofy, fun side of me. I got compared to Fantasia, who was only 19 but very mature. I guess that's a good thing.
Q: Was there any talk behind the scenes about Howard Stern and VoteForTheWorst.com's campaigns to keep Sanjaya around?
A: Nobody really talks about it. I didn't even know what Vote for the Worst was. We are all good singers, so there's not a worst. There's no way they can tweak the results because everyone's good.
Q: We never got to see you sing after your elimination.
A: I did sing, it just wasn't on camera. I wasn't disappointed though, because I started crying towards the end and that would have been horrible for America to see that.
Q: How do you feel about making it this far, but just missing the cutoff for the American Idols Live tour?
A: It's a bummer, but I try to look at the bright side of things and maybe someday I'll get to put out my own record and go on tour.