‘American Idol’ Castoff Erika Van Pelt ‘Went Crazy’ With New Look

'It helped me come out of my shell a little bit more,' singer tells MTV News of Tommy Hilfiger-assisted makeover.

“American Idol” contestant Erika Van Pelt may have disagreed with the judges’ critiques of her rendition of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” but with the help of famed designer Tommy Hilfiger, she may have stolen the show when she drastically changed up her hairstyle from mid-length blond to a short black cut. But unfortunately for Van Pelt, it wasn’t enough to save her from elimination from the show.

Even though Van Pelt won’t be rocking out on the “Idol” stage anymore, she has no regrets about her makeover.

“I love it, and it’s funny ’cause everyone was so shocked,” Van Pelt told MTV News on Monday. “I’ve gotten good responses, but they’re like, ‘Wow you really did that? You’d be bold enough and audacious enough to do that?’ But the funny thing is people don’t know I do this at home. I’ve been doing this my entire life.”

And it seems that she’s not the only one who is enjoying her new look, which she said she was planning for quite some time.

“My friends, my family, my fanbase were really digging it,” she said. “It helped me come out of my shell a little bit more. When Tommy Hilfiger came on as an image consultant, we started to talk about it. I had already had it in my mind that I wanted to do something drastic with it. I didn’t know what, so when I got the green light, I went crazy.”

Van Pelt, who will stay with the shorter hairstyle but might change the color, is now looking forward to hitting the road for the “Idol” tour. But after that, she is ready to branch out on her own.

“After the tour is done, I honestly want to get right to work,” she said. “I want to work on my first album, I want to do a ton of writing, I even want to get involved in acting and musical theater. I would love to be involved maybe on Broadway. I’m just a hard worker and I don’t care, 12-, 16-hour days, I’ll put the work in this. It’s what I want to do.”

During her time on “Idol,” Van Pelt drew comparisons to Pink, Kelly Clarkson and Janis Joplin, but it’s British songstress Jessie J who the singer truly admires.

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Jessie J. She’s totally amazing,” the singer revealed. “She’s got millions of fans and I still think she’s underrated — amazing vocals and she’s fearless. She doesn’t make any excuses for who she is … she’s just totally 100 percent herself.”

The two singers have more in common than you might think.

“Actually, for a while I had the shoulder-length dark hair with the straight-across bangs,” Van Pelt said. “That was before I started listening to Jessie J, and then I saw her and I was like, ‘Whoa!’ ”

What do you think of Erika’s new look? Let us know in the comments.

Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page, where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.

Christina Garibaldi has been an on-camera reporter for MTV News since 2011. When not interviewing or writing about her favorite stars, she keeps herself busy with baby animal videos and boy bands.
@ChristinaMTV