Gina Glocksen: ‘You Can’t Rock Out Tony Bennett’

'It's not that he's better or worse — he's Sanjaya,' rocker says of fellow 'Idol' finalist.

Gina Glocksen lived the “American Idol” dream. The 22-year-old from Naperville, Illinois, made it to the Hollywood round of “Idol” last year — only to be cut before America had a chance to weigh in. This year, she made it to the top 10.

But after a lukewarm reception from the judges for her take on the Charlie Chaplin standard “Smile” (see ” ‘Idol’ Recap: LaKisha Crosses Tony Bennett; Gina’s Headed Back To The Mall” ), the rocker girl’s “Idol” fairy tale ended Wednesday night (see “Gina’s Rocked Out: ‘Idol’ Voters Dump Glocksen, Keep Sanjaya” ).

On Thursday (April 5), the castoff talked Sanjaya’s staying power, Diana Ross’ impact and what Glocksen has planned next — now that she can’t try out for “Idol” again.

Q: After your name was read at elimination, the crowd began booing. How did that make you feel?

A: It made me feel so blessed and very much loved. You never know how many people love you. It’s hard to see all the signs that say “LaKisha” or “Jordin” or “Melinda, you’re my Idol,” and there were like two or three that said, “Gina, you rock!” And I treasure those signs and posters, but to have the crowd in that uproar of booing — it was bittersweet, because I’m great friends with Haley, and I’m glad to see her still there, but I wish I was still there.

Q: What did the judges say to you after Wednesday’s show?

A: Randy, he said, “If you woulda sang ['Smile'] like that last night, you’d be through!” And Paula, she said, “I’m a fan. You’re a star. You’re gonna go far.” And Simon was like, “Gina, you know, I really, really like you.” He said he’s glad I went back to my rocker image.

Q: Which of the guest mentors offered the best advice to you?

A: Probably Diana Ross. It wasn’t even anything [about my voice]. It was her telling me, “In this industry, you’re gonna have so many people talking to you, telling you what to wear, how to do your hair, what song choices to do, how to present yourself, how to present a song.” And she said that’s why you choose one: Choose one person, trust them, give them everything you have. They won’t steer you wrong.

Q: Was there any song that you really wanted to sing that you didn’t get a chance to?

A: I wanted to sing “Who Knew” by Pink, but she doesn’t clear her songs.

Q: Simon was awfully tough on you. Do you feel he was tough because he wanted to see you fail?

A: No. I kind of considered Simon as a parent — a tough-love kind of thing. [Parents] tell you what you don’t want to hear so you’ll do the opposite. And I think he’ll say I had a bad performance just to make me stronger.

Q: Was it tough to see Sanjaya place higher than you?

A: It’s tough that all the other eight people did — it’s not just Sanjaya. He’s just different. It’s not that he’s better or worse — he’s Sanjaya. And Jordin’s Jordin, and Blake is Blake. America was through with me, and I’m fine with it. I’m going on tour!

Q: Are there any bad feelings among the other “Idol” contestants about Sanjaya?

A: I’m friends with Sanjaya, so they know that if they’re going to badmouth him, they shouldn’t do it in front of me.

Q: What is Sanjaya like?

A: He’s exactly what you see on TV. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks, he does his thing, and he’s proud of himself. And I love that self-confidence.

Q: Since you have this rocker image, do you think the reason you got voted off this week was because of the American classics theme?

A: I don’t think that’s it. I think my fans and America knew this was going to be a tough week for me, because you can’t rock out Tony Bennett. But my fans were just proud of my last two performances, probably my two strongest of the whole season, and thought that I’d be safe so they decided not to vote, and I think that kind of killed me because every vote counts.

Q: What did it feel like to sing “Smile,” which really put into words what you must have been going through?

A: As I was singing it, it kind of clicked after the first couple lines that I sang, “Wow, I’m actually singing about myself.” And I kind of changed one of the words: “When there are clouds in the sky, I’ll get by” instead of “you’ll get by.” Because I know there’s always tomorrow. That song is definitely going to be a very special song for me for the rest of my life now.

Q: What’s it like living life in the “American Idol” bubble?

A: I love it, although when I get down on myself, wondering if I made the right choice, I wish I could take my body home for just 10 minutes. But I never second-guess anything. This is what I signed up for. … If you think about it, it’s only six months out of your whole life, and it’s an amazing experience, so I wouldn’t regret anything.

Q: After trying for “American Idol” last year and then finally making it to the top 10, what’s your next big goal?

A: After the tour, I want to move to L.A. and try to get a record deal and make music — my own music, since I’ve been doing covers for so long — and try to sell albums.

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