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'American Idol' eliminee Tristan McIntosh: Jennifer Lopez's criticism surprised me a bit


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/20/2016 

American Idol determined its farewell season's Top 5 finalists and eliminated Tristan McIntosh in the process during Thursday night's broadcast on Fox.

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Tristan, a 15-year-old student from Nashville, TN, was ousted from the competition after judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. chose to save fellow bottom-two member Sonika Vaid, a 20-year-old student from Martha's Vineyard, MA, instead.

Sonika had also landed in the bottom three last week.

On Friday, Tristan talked to Reality TV World about her American Idol experience. Below is what she had to say.

Reality TV World: When you landed in the bottom two with Sonika, what was going through your mind? Were you surprised about America's vote and then did it also shock you to be eliminated, especially considering the judges saved Sonika two weeks in a row?

Tristan McIntosh: What I was thinking while I was onstage, honestly, was just that, "I need to give the best performance that I can give with what I've been given." So, it was amazing for Sonika to make it through, and she was so happy, and I'm just so happy for her.

Reality TV World: I feel like you finally found your lane on American Idol, that you're a country singer and, like Harry said, you sing wonderfully when it's coming from a place of pain. Did it therefore confuse you when Jennifer suggested you switch things up next week if you're still around? It's like you finally found what works for you but then they say you're flatlining.

Tristan McIntosh: It surprised me a little bit when she suggested I change it up because I had found my groove in country music just doing country ballads and coming from a place of pain. But honestly, I understand where she was coming from, and I will definitely take that advice while I'm making my own music.

Reality TV World: Since you're only 15-years-old, I would think the competition would be incredibly stressful for you and almost overwhelming or scary. Looking back, do you think this was the perfect time for you to compete? Or considering what Harry said, that you'll improve as you get older, do you wish there were more seasons of Idol so you could've auditioned later on?

Tristan McIntosh: I honestly don't think there was a more perfect time, because I'm 15, this is Season 15, and it's just so amazing for me to even be here. It was a great way to just start my career, because honestly, if you can start it anywhere, why not on American Idol in the Top 6?

Also during the conference call with reporters, Tristan discussed song choice, judges' advice and more.

How do you think your experience differed on American Idol from some of the older contestants, who didn't have to juggle schoolwork with show commitments?

Tristan McIntosh: The ways in which my experience differed was, for one, I usually have three hours of school a day while the other contestants are either in the Blue Room practicing their music or they are practicing with the vocal coaches or they are onstage.

And just having a guardian with you, it means you head home faster than the other contestants because California's laws make you go home faster than the other contestants. (Laughs) But honestly, I feel like it was such a great experience for me anyways -- even being a minor, it may have been more time consuming in having to pack a lot more into less time, but it was still great.

Looking back, do you wish you had sang a different song this week for the "judges' save?"

Tristan McIntosh: You know, I had wondered that myself, but honestly, I think I went out with what I'm good at, and that's just doing country and being myself and performing and putting all of my emotions in my performance.

Which country artist would you most want to be mentored by and why?

Tristan McIntosh: I'd probably want to be mentored by Martina McBride. She's phenomenal. I covered two of her songs this season. (Laughs) And since I was very little, I always really admired her and I would watch her videos on YouTube. She's just really great and I feel like she'd be a great mentor.

Which judge did you learn the most from? You got a lot of advice, so what stuck with you?

Tristan McIntosh: Honestly, I'm taking all their advice and just using it to my advantage, because not everybody gets a chance to go onstage and have three very successful musicians reveal how they were successful and how to be successful.

Check back with Reality TV World soon for more from Tristan's post-American Idol interview.



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