"I actually had a good feeling that it might've been about time right there for me to be ready to go," the 24-year-old from Memphis, TN told reporters in a Thursday media conference call. "I kinda stared coping with the idea that I might be leaving before the show."
Cowell had predicted Rounds, who was eliminated along with fellow finalist Anoop Desai, would be going home after she'd sung Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" on Tuesday night's live performance show.
"I'm glad you had fun because I think this is going to be the last week we're ever going to see you. I do. I do," Cowell had told Rounds. "I'll tell you why, because there's no originality. It was very copycat. The arrangement -- your vocals -- were a mess. I absolutely believe this is your final shot. Sorry."
Cowell's Tuesday night comments were just the latest in a series of verbal lashings Rounds had received from the judges, who criticized her for not coming into own and establishing her artistic niche, in recent weeks. However, while she sometimes disagreed with their opinions, she told reporters that she had always accepted the judges' feedback as constructive criticism to build on.
"I did feel like the judges gave their critiques based on how they felt the performance may have went." Rounds said. "Whenever they gave me their comments I took 'em in stride because I felt like they were giving me constructive criticism to improve me. There were times I felt like they would kinda go back and forth a bit, but it was okay because in the end I'm gonna take everything that they say to me and push forward with it."
One instance in which Round did feel the judges were going "back and forth" was on Bette Midler's "The Rose," which Rounds had performed during last week's performance show.
Although Cowell had claimed the song was was too "middle of the road" and "completely wrong" for her, Rounds told reporters she felt she had added her own unique touches and stood by her decision to publicly let him know that she disagreed with him.
"I just felt like [when the judges] would give me their critiques... it seemed to me like it started going back and forth," Rounds said. "One week they would tell me one thing and the next week the same thing they had told me the week before, they would flip it and tell me to do the opposite of that. So I was kinda like 'I don't know which way to go.'"
"But I had to make it clear, not just trying to go toe-to-toe with Simon or the judges," Rounds added. "I just wanted America to really know that I really, really am an artist and if in any way I gave the vibe that I didn't know who I was or what I was trying to do as an artist, I was trying to let everybody know that I'm definitely an artist and I love to do the R&B and soul vibe."
Rounds also said that she had disagreed with the judges' frequent comments that she had needed to make more adjustments to her performances to "make them your own."
"When I would here that I automatically would think... well I would first of all think that I did make it my own, especially vocally. But I guess they wanted me to do more of a change as far as music-wise because when I would do a song I always stay true to the way that the music went with the song," she explained to reporters. "But I felt vocally that I did do some changing there because I always wanted it to fit who I am as an artist and of course there would me being the R&B, soulful type singer."
After her elimination, Rounds said she had sought out Allison Iraheta, a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA, to let her know that she was throwing her support behind Iraheta now that she is the competition's only remaining female finalist.
"I gave Allison the biggest hug that I could possibly give. We were crying like, of course, two girls," she told reporters with a laugh. "But that's my baby and I just told her to make sure she keeps her head up and continues to be Allison and go out and nail it each week like she's been doing and hold it down for the ladies... She's such an amazing singer, she's gonna do absolutely fabulous."
Rounds also reiterated her Wednesday night departure comments that she's looking forward to returning to Memphis and getting to spend some time with her children before American Idol's summer tour begins.
"I haven't gotten a chance to see the babies yet, but they did get to watch the show and I just explained to them that my run on American Idol was up but, of course, I was gonna come home and spend some time with them before I went on tour," Rounds told reporters. "They feel so very, very proud of their mommy and they've been great during this, they've tried to understand what I was doing and they're really proud of me, so I'm happy."
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