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'American Idol' finalist Allison Iraheta: I was "prepared" for my exit


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/11/2009 

Allison Iraheta feels being among the bottom three vote getters four times as an American Idol eighth-season finalist prepared her for her eventual ouster.

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"It really didn't affect anything, because I felt like I was doing pretty good," Iraheta told reporters during a Thursday conference call.

"So I was just like, 'I'm prepared for anything.  If I'm in the bottom three again and I'm actually eliminated, I'm ready, it's okay,' because I knew I'd be leaving on a good note.  I honestly feel like I did pretty good and I'm pretty proud of myself."

The 17-year-old from Los Angeles, CA who currently resides in Downey, CA was the tenth finalist eliminated from Idol's eighth season during Wednesday night's live broadcast that revealed the Top 3 finalists -- Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey.

"It was weird, I've been in the bottom three so many times and I was just really prepared for anything." Iraheta told reporters.  "I've got to say, everyone is prepared and when it was down to me and Danny I was like, 'Whoa it's either him or me,' and it was me.  So I'm pretty happy that I made it that far, and I'm just glad that I got the opportunity to be on that stage."

Iraheta was also able to take some solace in the fact that she finished fourth -- the same position Chris Daughtry finished during the show's fifth season before he launched a successful rock career with his band.

"It made me feel better.  You know he's done so much, he's done well and it's really like, if he's done well, and he didn't have to make it all the way to the top, it gives me a chance, hopefully," she said.  "And I hope I do as well as he does."

Iraheta received mostly positive critiques for her singing from Idol's judging panel throughout the eighth season but also constantly had other aspects of her performances criticized.

"I was like come on, I'm singing here," said Iraheta about the negative feedback.  "But I think overall they all look for what you're going to do as a selling artist.  I know there were a lot of risks I did in dressing and all that, but I had fun with it, so I think that's what mattered."

Iraheta's lack of personality was also commented on by Simon Cowell, leading to a verbal exchange between the two during last Tuesday night's performance episode.  Despite the fact that it preceded her elimination, Iraheta said she has no regrets about responding to Cowell.

"I really just felt it was the perfect time to standup for myself and I was like, 'Alright, I'm not who you are saying I am.  I'm not boring, first of all and you say I don't talk,' and I was like 'I might as well just talk,'" she explained to reporters.  "So it was really just me, I was like; I feel this is the perfect time for me to come in."

In addition, Iraheta said she also has no regrets about singing Janis Joplin's "Cry Baby" instead of "Piece of My Heart," which the judges commented would have suited her better.

"I really appreciate everything they say, but I think it was me feeling it, about me feeling it, and I really do not regret doing that song and anything I did back in the show," she said.  "I felt pretty good about it, and I think it's about me just feeling it.  Yes, it was definitely just about me feeling it and enjoying what I was doing and having fun."

Somewhat ironically, Iraheta said she then had to sing "Cry Baby" after her elimination was revealed.

"I was crying and I was singing a song called 'Cry Baby.'  But it felt so different because it was like, 'Alright, they're not going to judge me on this, so I'm just going to do whatever and I'm going to give it my all,'" she told reporters. 

"And I just really felt it and I felt like I went up to the judges and I was singing to them, and I just felt really great about it and I felt like I was really just, this is my last time on here, so I better just give it my all and leave on a good note, hopefully."

Iraheta was the final female finalist in the competition and was also the youngest, so she told reporters that she took on a little sister role with the others.

"It was so fun," she said.  "It was like a family, just really great and we all got along so well.  And really it felt like I was their little sister, and they would really stand up for me.  And the cool thing is that they would help me with like song choice and we would all help ourselves and it was great."

The teenager also had a real member of her family with her most of the time, as her mom lived with her in the Idol house during the competition.

"She was just so much support, my mom.  It's like I was very lucky to have her with me the whole time, she was just very supportive," explained Iraheta.  "And she knew that when I was singing it was just a whole different story and she was like, 'Alright, I'll let you do what you've got to do,' so it was pretty awesome that I had her with me."

While her time on Idol has ended, Iraheta said her future is currently up in the air since she was previously home schooled and didn't attend a regular high school.

"It depends if I just take my GED test, I'm totally done.  But right now I'm still just working on some other stuff at school, I really want to continue with the Idol school, it's so fun and I have a great teacher," she said.

Iraheta described Idol's Top 3 eighth-season finalists as "so different" and encouraged home viewers to simply vote for their favorite over the next two weeks.

"If you find someone that is awesome and you like and you can totally connect to, you go and vote for them, because they're going to be the next American Idol, and they're going to be great," she gushed.

(Photo credit Fox)


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