The judges asked Alexis Grace to "dirty it up" at her first "American Idol" audition, and the 21-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee, came through. Grace showed up to Hollywood week with an edgy look to match her soulful vocals and took the competition by storm.
But her seemingly unstoppable run to at least the top 10 came to an end with her country-week performance of Dolly Parton's "Jolene." We caught up with the pint-size mom to talk about last week's phone-number debacle, why Randy Jackson couldn't remember her name and much more.
Q: Is it especially disappointing that you were cut during country week since you're from Tennessee?
A: It totally is. I feel kind of like I let my state down, you know? I'm from the South, and we're supposed to do country well, and I think I actually sing country pretty good. So it was a disappointment. I kind of let them down a little bit. But I can redeem myself.
Q: When you sang "Jolene" again during the results show, were you thinking about the judges' comments that you needed to be edgier?
A: No, I think it was just what I was feeling the second night. I just went up there and sang what I was feeling. It wasn't like I was trying to be anything or do anything a certain way. I just wanted to show them that I wanted to stay.
Q: Do you think it would've helped if you could have performed any of your past songs for the judges' save instead of just the one from that week?
A: Probably. I'm gonna be honest — I think it could have. I think if I sang the first song that I sang, "I Never Loved a Man," that maybe I would still be there. I think that "Jolene" is a beautiful song, and I love to sing it. I don't think it was their favorite performance. I didn't get to really show them and remind them again why they picked me or why America picked me. Yeah, I probably would've chosen a different song if I could.
Q: What did the top 13 think of the "judges' save"?
A: We actually think it's a good idea. In years past, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry and all the rest of the people who we thought could have gotten through far but didn't — it's there to help people who need a second chance. We thought it was a good idea.
Q: Did it make you feel better or worse knowing that the judges considered using their "save" on you?
A: I liked the fact that they told me that they were thinking about saving me, because it let me know that they actually believed in me and that they think that I can do it.
Q: Do you think you were treated unfairly when you were given a new phone number last week?
A: I didn't even think about it, honestly. I just went up there and sang my song. If [the voters] liked me, then they'd pay attention to the number. I don't even think about issues like that.
Q: Are you upset that you won't be joining the top 10 on the American Idols Live Tour?
A: I'm really disappointed about that. I would've loved to have gone on tour, especially with all those guys. I'm really close with them, and I know that they're going to do really well, and it would've been fun to do some duets with some of those people too. But there will be other tours.
Q: Did it bother you when Randy accidentally called you "Allison" during the results show?
A: A little bit. But I think that's because that's just his personality, maybe? Not because I'm forgettable — hopefully not! I made a face when he said "Allison." I was like, "Hmmm, my name's Alexis."
Q: Did you feel like you had to try a little bit harder because guys outnumbered girls in the top 13?
A: Yeah, of course you do, if there's only four girls and however many guys. You really have to do your part and show those little girls out there who are voting for all the boys that, "Hey, we're still here too!"
Q: What kind of music do you want to release?
A: Some soul mixed in with blues and country. Kind of like the three combined together. Joss Stone mixed with Carrie Underwood with Sheryl Crow.
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