'American Idol' A 'Constant Struggle' For Erika Van Pelt

'I think a lot of your fate rides on what sort of light [the judges] shed on you,' latest castoff tells MTV News.

"American Idol" fans might still be scratching their heads as to why Erika Van Pelt was sent home on last week's episode. With a brand-new makeover, the singer took on Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" and received mostly positive feedback from the judges, so when she was eliminated, it not only shocked fans, but Van Pelt as well.

"I've been in the bottom [for] four consecutive weeks. I wasn't surprised at that. Getting eliminated, I felt a little robbed, I can't lie," she told MTV News on Monday (March 26). "Everything happens for a reason."

Looking back at her time on "Idol," Van Pelt said she felt "confused" by the judges' remarks, especially for her latest performance, and feels that their changing critiques may have swayed voters.

"I think a lot of your fate rides on what sort of light [the judges] shed on you," Van Pelt said. "For me, I was doing 'New York State of Mind,' which is a ballad, and every time Billy Joel has ever performed it, he's been sitting behind a piano, he's not dancing around, and [Jennifer Lopez] made some comments about me on planting my feet and getting my body into it more. I just wasn't feeling it. I don't feel like I need to jump around to sing. There are a few other contestants on the show that do nothing but stand there and sing, and they don't say anything to them. [At] the very least, they get standing O's, and they like that. I just felt it was a constant struggle for me."

Yet Van Pelt doesn't feel like she was the only contestant receiving contradicting feedback week after week. "There are a lot of really great performers," Van Pelt said. "Even my personal favorites have gotten some really sort of questionable feedback. I thought their performances were great, and they'd get slammed by the judges. It's a weird thing. I feel like you never really know."

This summer, Van Pelt will join the other top 10 contestants on tour, where she said she will finally be able to show fans who she really is.

"I felt like I was kind of kept in a box a little bit," Van Pelt said of her time on "Idol." "It's just reality, just the structure of the show didn't allow me to show who I really am as an artist. I have a lot of facets, and I've felt like they may have pegged me as this one thing and pushed me in that one direction, but I got a lot going on."

Were you surprised Erika was eliminated? Let us know in the comments.

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