Lacey Brown had an "American Idol" Cinderella story. In season eight, she just missed the cut for the top 36 when the judges opted for another quirky singer, Megan Joy, instead. Well, this was her year. Not only did she get past Hollywood Week to the top 24, she even made it to the top 12 and the big stage.
Unfortunately, her performance of the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" didn't cut it, and she was the first finalist to get the boot.
We caught up with the 24-year-old Texan on Thursday (March 18) to talk about why she decided to try out again this year, the judges' conflicting advice and what's next.
Q: The judges have been offering a lot of conflicting advice this season. Do you think that made it harder to show America what kind of artist you want to be?
A: It's difficult with the criticism this year, because it has been a little bit confusing, and therefore I would change things week to week, which can leave the audience kind of questioning who I am. I would say I'm a very different artist. I have a very different voice that's not suited for a lot of different genres, but I really see myself doing more of a pop/folk mix. I definitely can see myself making an album soon. I would love to do that, if I get the chance to. I just want to give people the chance to hear something that's fresh and new and different. There's not a lot of voices like mine right now on the radio, so I kind of take pride in the fact that I'm a lot different. I've always been a little bit more unique and individual, and I try to embrace that, and I tried to show that in my performances. Hopefully people can get that, and hopefully they like it. I'm looking forward to writing some new music that fits my voice and that people really like.
Q: What made you come back this year after making it so far last season?
A: I'm one of those people that gets very competitive. [Laughs.] And I decided that it's way too much of an experience to not try again, to try to get further. If I would have made it into the top 36 last year, I wouldn't have been able to come back this year. So I'm really glad I got a second chance. I'm really glad I decided to come back, because I needed to work on a couple things and come back and get further in the competition. That wasn't a hard decision at all, because everybody that's involved in this show — all the contestants, all the relationships — everything about this has just been a blast for me. So I just decided, "I'm gonna do it twice!" [Laughs.]
Q: Can you pinpoint your downfall in the competition?
A: I would probably have to say energy. They kept asking for energy in my songs, and I kept trying to give it, and they kept saying it was a sleepy performance. They wanted to see a little bit more energy, because [I have] a happy and bubbly type of personality, and they just wanted to see that transferred into my music. The issue that I was having is, I really love to sing ballads. I love telling a story with a song. I love the emotion of the song. I'm very artsy, so that side of me comes out when I sing. I think I kept picking songs that I really loved to sing and really felt, and maybe it didn't transfer as well onstage. Maybe that was it. But I wouldn't have changed any of it, because that's who I am. Even though I'm a bubbly, happy person, not every song that I sing is gonna be uptempo.
Q: Did you get a chance to talk to the judges after the results show?
A: All the judges came up afterwards. I think they genuinely care about the contestants. Sometimes it's hard to hear their critiques, but they're there to help you. It's a fine line between taking what they say personally and taking what they say and applying it to fix yourself and work things out that you need to work out. When they came up afterwards, they had nothing but nice things to say, things like, "This is just another step into your career. You have great vocals. You're very unique." They're just full of compliments, because they want to see us succeed. And they don't want us to feel like all hope is lost, because it's not. I'm in the top 12 right now, and even though I got voted off, this is not the end-all for me. This is a great opportunity to jump-start my career. I think that's the point they were trying to make.
Q: Who are some of your musical influences, and would you ever like to work with them?
A: I have a lot of influences right now. One of my biggest influences is Patsy Cline. Unfortunately, I won't be able to work with her. I learned a lot from her performances, like how to tell a story in a song to make you feel like you've fallen in love again or make you feel like your heart's broken. She was a great performer. ... Also, there's new and upcoming people who I've been following for a couple years like Pete Yorn, who's just an amazing musician and singer that has a great vibe, and not a whole lot of people know who he is yet, but I think he's an upcoming huge deal. I have a lot of indie bands that I like, and I got a couple country bands that I really like right now. I'm finding influence from everywhere.
Were you sad to see Lacey go? Will you follow her post-"Idol" career? Let us know in the comments below!
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.