Lauren Alaina finished American Idol's tenth season as the runner-up after she was defeated by Scotty McCreery during Wednesday night's live finale broadcast on Fox.

Alaina lost to the 17-year-old student from Garner, NC, after she received the smaller portion of the "over 122 million" home viewer votes that were cast immediately Tuesday night's live performance broadcast that saw the teens square off in what was the youngest matchup in Idol finale history.

During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, the 16-year-old student from Rossville, GA, talked about her American Idol experience -- including how she overcame the medical issue with her vocal chords, what she learned about herself throughout the competition, what she felt is a common misconception about her personality, and how she said she is ready to take on the responsibilities of being a young role model. 

How difficult was it for you to deliver great performances during American Idol's final performance show when you were suffering from the problem with your vocal chords?

Lauren Alaina: The show must go on always, and the doctor came in and he took really good care of me. He got my voice good and secured, and I mean, I just had to go out there and do the best that I can.

What would you most want people to know about you from the things that viewers were not able to learn about you by watching American Idol?

Lauren Alaina: I am actually really -- I'm not really a blonde. People call me a "dumb blonde," (laughs) but I'm actually really smart. I love to go to school, and my favorite subject is math. I like going to school probably more than anything.

Why do you love country music so much?

Lauren Alaina: Part of it was that I was raised on country music. My parents love country music and it's just within my heart.

Why did you choose to not use your last name on American Idol and will Lauren Alaina be the name you will continue to build your career on?

Lauren Alaina: Well, I chose not to use Suddeth because people never pronounce it right and I knew [American Idol host] Ryan Seacrest would have a terrible time trying to say my last name, so I just went with Alaina because it would be easier and it kind of rolls off the tongue. But I will always be Lauren Suddeth, always.

Could you describe your relationship with Scotty? Are you two boyfriend and girlfriend?

Lauren Alaina: Yeah, we're not. We're just friends.
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You seemed to have a bit of a physical transformation during the show and you reportedly lost 20 pounds. Is that accurate?

Lauren Alaina: I think it was actually 16 pounds in all, maybe.

Are you going to continue to keep working hard? I heard you enjoy running and stuff.

Lauren Alaina: I'm sorry?... Yeah, of course I am. Yeah, I will. I'm going to start -- I haven't been able to workout in the last couple weeks because I've been so busy getting ready for the finale and everything. But I'm going to continue to work out and I'm going to get to the point where I want to be and not where everyone else wants me to be -- where I want to be.

You're an amazing singer at 16 years old but you can only grow and get better from here, so did you ever wish you did American Idol a few years from now?

Lauren Alaina: No. I feel like people misjudge young people because they think they're not ready, but I feel like if something's your dream and you want it, you should go for it.

Scotty said people were trying to work it out so that you two could attend the CMA festival in June. Have you ever gone to the CMA festival as a fan and just the prospect that you might go and be there this year, what's that like for you?

Lauren Alaina: Actually, I have not been able to make it to any of the CMA festivals, but I do believe I'll be there this year!

Is that something you're really looking forward to? Is that going to be a dream come true for you?

Lauren Alaina: Oh my God. It's going to be amazing.

You obviously grew throughout the competition, so what would you say you learned about yourself by taking part in Idol? Did you gain more confidence and what was they key in doing that?

Lauren Alaina: Well with the show, I had a lot of confidence before the show, and then once I saw myself on TV -- being my own worst critic -- it kind of threw me back a couple of notches. But I thought that was a good thing, like I needed to realize that there's always something that you can work on about yourself.

The thing that I didn't like about myself, I worked on the whole time while I was on the show. I really tried to improve myself and I feel like since there were so many people watching and I could see the outcome and stuff, so I think that it was really helpful for me to grow as a person and as an artist.

Was there anything that seemed like it really turned the corner for you?

Lauren Alaina: Each week, I learned something new, you know? I just put it all together and tried to make the best of it.

Have you ever had any problems with your vocal chords before?

Lauren Alaina: I have actually, but everyone has trouble with their vocal chords sometimes. I think I'm getting a little bit of a cold or something. My nose is a little stuffed up and my throat's hurting pretty bad today, but it's going to be alright.

What did Scotty whisper to you at the end of the performance show on Tuesday night when you shook your head?

Lauren Alaina: Oh. He told me I was going to win, and I said, "No, Scotty. You're going to win."

What was going through your head right before Seacrest read the results during Wednesday night's live finale?

Lauren Alaina: I had a feeling that it was going to be Scotty, but select things happen for a reason, and God has a different plan for me.

Being in the Top 2 was a great achievement, but did making it all the way to the end make it more difficult for you when you found out you hadn't won?

Lauren Alaina: You know, not really, because there's hundreds of thousands of people out there who would love to be second place on American Idol, and I'm very fortunate to have made it as far as I did.

What blew your mind the most about meeting all the celebrities you met during the finale?

Lauren Alaina: Just being able to sing with [American Idol fourth-season winner] Carrie Underwood kind of set off the whole night. I just -- she's amazing.

Who picked the song you and Carrie sang?

Lauren Alaina: I think Carrie picked it.

Were you happy for Scotty that he had won and could you describe the friendship that's built up between you guys since you went to school together and everything?

Lauren Alaina: I'll be happy for Scotty forever, because we are great friends and I mean, I know what you mean by people fake it, but I've been saying all along that no matter what happens -- if it came down to me and Scotty -- I'd be happy either way.

We're such great friends, and I truly mean that, because he is so talented. He's got the look. He sings the same kind of music that I sing, and he loves Jesus. I couldn't imagine -- I couldn't have picked a better person to get second place to.

Have you given any thought to what it's like to be a role model now and who would you take advice from on the subject as your role model or role models?

Lauren Alaina: You know, I mean, I'm a huge country music fan. There's so many girls that I look up to, especially Carrie Underwood. Everyone know that. I've shouted that one out loud for awhile now, and it's just that I met her and talking with her, I think she generally cared that I was there.

She actually invited me back after we went to the party last night for all the contestants after the show, and she invited me back to her area and let me sit with her on top of it. It was just like amazing to see that someone I looked up to for so long was actually the person that I thought they were.

I want little girls and girls my age to feel that way about me when they meet me -- to know that I'm actually the way that I portrayed it on TV. I'm not fake, and I don't want mislead people as to who I am like I could've. I tell jokes a lot, but I can be serious too, and I cry a lot -- everyone knows that. It's just who I am, so I just do not plan on changing who I am for anything.

I want to stay true to who I am and have my little country root and just let it be available for little girls to look up to me, because I've always looked up to Carrie, and I can't imagine -- it would be the greatest feeling in the world for some little girl to look up to me the way that I look up to her. And I'm still a little girl, so I've got plenty of time to make that a possibility. I just rambled on for 10 minutes. (Laughs)

Any closing remarks?

Lauren Alaina: I just want to say thank you to all my fans and thank you for calling in and letting me talk with you guys.