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Ousted Joanne Borgella has no regrets about 'American Idol'


By Christopher Rocchio, 02/25/2008 

Despite being employed as a fairly-successful plus-size model, Joanne Borgella gave it up to compete as an American Idol seventh-season Top 24 semifinalist.

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"For me, singing by far is always going to be my favorite," Borgella told reporters during a Friday conference call. 

"I mean if the world could be a musical, I would be the lead singer in it.  As far as modeling is concerned, I absolutely love doing it.  I've never thought about doing America's Next Top Model, because I was [already] with Wilhelmina, which is one of the No. 1 agencies.  And I actually made the decision to leave there, in order to pursue American Idol, because you know you can't have any contracts when you join with the show.  So it was a big decision I made, but it wasn't hard, because singing is my passion."

Unfortunately for her, Simon Cowell called Borgella's rendition of "I Say Little Prayer For You" during Wednesday night's performance episode her "worst performance" of the competition.  It was a sentiment home viewers apparently agreed with as she was eliminated at the end of Thursday night's results show broadcast.

"I wasn't surprised.  You know there are 24 of us, I know every week at one point one of us is going to be going home and one is going to stay," she said.   "So for me I always had a mind set, it may not be next week, maybe it might be the last day, I could be the winner.  So when [host Ryan Seacrest] called out my name, I had a moment, I prayed and when he said it, I got up there and I performed."

The 25-year-old from New York, NY's elimination then led to the most memorable moment of her brief time in the competition, singing "I Say Little Prayer For You" without the pressure of trying to win viewer votes.

"That was probably the best point, I really enjoyed myself [Thursday] night when I performed the last performance," she explained.  "It's hard to say goodbye to my friends and some people say, 'Oh my God I made lasting friends.'  And you think, 'Well how is that going to happen, you just met?'  But when you're put in a situation and it's possible that your dreams can come true within a few months, it's pressure, it's anxiety, it's happiness, it's all these things, fatigue, you get these bonds that you would never think that you could make.  I mean anyone could see [Thursday] night how hard it was for all of us to leave, all my friends, everybody was crying... I mean it was a beautiful moment."

Idol 7 wasn't Borgella's first reality-television experience, as she competed and won Oxygen's Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance two-hour beauty-pageant special in 2005.  While she described Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance as "amazing," Borgella added it can't compare to Idol.

"Honestly, American Idol, the experience I shared here is totally completely different from any show, I think.  I was on Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance... it had nothing to do with music," she said.  "And this show, itself, it really does just thrust you into the music industry and it gives you this huge opportunity.  And basically the experience was amazing; it's beyond what anyone could possibly think of."

In addition, Borgella said Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance didn't help in readying her for her Idol experience.

"Nothing can prepare you for this, I mean it's so amazing, it's such a whirlwind," she said.  I don't think anything you've done in your live can prepare you for what you go through when you're here.  I mean its amazing people, the producers, the people you work with, the caliber of people, I mean it's amazing."

Borgella also elaborated on her previous comments that her vocals don't fit what many people think of when they look at her.

"Usually with a plus-sized woman, you tend to think that they're going to sing neo-soul, that genre of music, and for me I love that music, I mean it sounds great, but that's not the kind of performer that I am, I don't sing that kind of music," she explained.  "I listen to pop, R&B... I love doing power ballads, but I also want to do the song that you would love to dance to in a club.  And you don't usually put that with a plus sized woman.  You put that with someone with body image, very body conscious.  So I'm not that, I'm opposite that."

However Borgella said she doesn't believe her body image not matching up with her voice actually hurt her when it came to viewer votes.

"I think I was just being true to myself.  No matter what, in the end I'm always going to be true to myself and anyone that knows me, they know the kind of music I want to do," she said.  "I don't think because of the way I look you should expect me to sound a certain way.  So I think that didn't have any effect whatsoever on what people expected of me."

Despite being eliminated at the onset of the competition, Borgella said it was still "just amazing to even be part of this experience."

"American Idol is so huge in itself -- being a part of this season -- I know anything I want to do is going to be at my hands," she said.  "Modeling, definitely, singing of course number one, I want to have an album and continue modeling and acting, as well, I went to school for that.  You're going to see me dabbling in everything -- I'm a multitasker -- so I'm definitely going to just continue doing what I'm doing.  I think it has just opened like 80 billion more doors.  So I'm excited."


(Photo credit Fox)


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