Katie Stevens Did What Was 'Best For Me' On 'American Idol'

'They all know what they're talking about, but ultimately, I need to do what I love,' she says of the judges.

After some iffy performances in the "American Idol" semifinals, many fans questioned Katie Stevens making the top 12 over other female contestants like Lilly Scott and Katelyn Epperly. Well, the 17-year-old was out to prove those critics wrong in the finals with her powerful performances of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" and the Beatles' "Let It Be."

But Simon Cowell lambasted Katie's take on Elvis' "Baby What You Want Me to Do" for being too loud and "annoying," and she was sent packing, along with Andrew Garcia, on Wednesday night.

We caught up with the high-schooler on Thursday (April 15) to find out what she thought of Kara and Simon's back-and-forth about what kind of artist she was and much more.

Q: Simon and Kara had a real tug-of-war going on, fighting over whether you should sing country or pop/R&B. What was it like being stuck in the middle of that?

A: I think where I went at fault at the beginning of the competition, during top 24, was when I was trying to please the judges and I wasn't pleasing myself and doing what I loved. I decided going into top 12 that I was just going to be myself. So everything that I did at that point was what I loved to do. I think that kind of showed, so the judges started giving me better comments. And Simon telling me he thought I was country — I mean, they all know what they're talking about, but ultimately, I need to do what I love and do what I feel is best for me. And I kind of side more with Kara and the pop with R&B leanings. In an album, I would like to record things like Kelly Clarkson, where she has the soulful voice with kind of pop/R&B and a rock background. I hope to record that kind of album soon!

Q: What was the most difficult aspect of being on "Idol"?

A: Each contestant, we'd go out there, and we'd try to do our best each week, and it's very hard knowing that you're going to be judged afterward, because you don't know what to expect. You don't know if they're going to give you good comments or bad comments, so you just try to manage your nerves as best you can. The singing part was probably easiest, but it was nerve-racking to go into the judging part of it. So definitely the judging was most difficult for me.

Q: You mentioned that your dad had such a hard time with the results shows that he skipped them altogether. What was your parents' reaction when you were eliminated this week?

A: They have been behind me since I started to sing when I was little. Obviously, they saw that I was upset, but my mom even said to me yesterday ... "You know what, Katie? If you started out and you were at the stadium, and they told you, 'OK, Katie, we're gonna let you be on the show, but you're only gonna make it to the eighth spot,' would you have done it?" And I said, "Absolutely." So they basically told me how proud they were of me and how I should have no regrets about anything, and I don't. I have no regrets, and I'm so proud of myself that I was able to have strength enough to go through this at my age. I'm very proud of everything I've accomplished.

Q: After Michael Lynche was given a second chance, were you disappointed or relieved that the judges' save wasn't on the table for you this week?

A: I love Big Mike. And I was so happy that he got saved and all of us contestants were able to spend another week with him. I mean, it was weird, because I had this feeling that it was gonna be me when I was standing next to him. And I'm so proud of him and all the other contestants. And I was privileged to be able to spend time with them and work with all of them. I was definitely happy to be able to sing at the end. Obviously, it's a little emotional, but I tried as best I could, and that wasn't the last time that America's gonna see me. Just gotta keep that in mind.

Q: What was the best piece of advice Adam Lambert gave you as a mentor?

A: He told me to always stick to what I love and what I believe in. It was great to have him as a mentor, because he's been through the "Idol" process. So he was able to give us feedback on what he did and how he was able to evolve throughout all the pressures and everything. And it really helped us try to home in on that and do the best that we can.

Were you sad to see Katie go? Are you excited to hear her post-"Idol" music? Let us know in the comments below!

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