While Rodriguez became the second finalist sent home from American Idol's tenth season after she received the fewest home viewer votes during Thursday night's live broadcast, she's confident the show will just be a stepping stone in her career.
"American Idol was one of those things that was on a longer list of what I wanted to accomplish in my life and I'm so glad that I can scratch that off. But there's so many things above American Idol that I want to do. I want to win a Grammy. I want to win an Oscar. I want to do so many things that are just going to keep topping one after the other, and that's what keeps me going," Rodriguez told reporters during a Friday conference call.
"Just knowing that this is not the end, I just have so much faith. My destiny is destined for greatness. I feel that in every part of my being, and I thought that ever since I was a little girl. Being on American Idol Top 12 Season 10 -- the best season ever -- that just reinstates that for me."
Rodriguez, a 21-year-old student from New York, NY, also has high expectations her future recording efforts, partially in thanks to her supportive fans.
"Every single person that's tweeted has said, 'We know that this is not the end for you. We know that there's so many things coming.' So that just gives me hope, because I know that as soon as I release anything, there's going to be millions of people buying it and watching me. So, that just gives me confidence," Rodriguez said.
The singer feels that although one door closed when her American Idol journey ended, many more doors will be opening with even better opportunities.
"Sometimes I wonder, 'Why didn't I stay another week? Why?' In a few days and in a few months I will see why maybe at this time, if I would have stayed longer in the competition, there would have been an opportunity that I might have missed out on. I feel like this is my time now to go home, because as soon as the competition ends, I'm just going to be out there," Rodriguez told reporters.
"Maybe it was my time to be on the show for a little bit so I could get my name out there and now, I'm just looking so forward to my career. This is what I eventually want. I don't want to only be known for Top 12 finalist of American Idol. I want to be known as Karen Rodriguez, the next Latin sensation, you know, crossover English-American and Hispanic artist. That's who I want to be known as, and I feel like I've made myself that name. I made that name for myself and I'm very excited for what's about to come."
In addition to singing, Rodriguez says she would love to take on acting.
"I would love to do movies and commercials. I've done a voiceover for a movie already when I was in high school and coming into LaGuardia High School my freshman year, I got the lead role Maria in West Side Story and then got the lead sophomore year. It was my first really big play with 3,000 seats filled out every single night and that kind of like made me believe in myself more as an actress and I'd love to do theater. I've auditioned for In The Heights as well. I've auditioned for West Side Story on Broadway," Rodriguez explained.
"I got to meet the cast of both and it's just amazing, and now with this opportunity, now that people know who I am, maybe there's just more opportunities for me to go further -- for me to do ads or anything I could get my hands on -- I want to take this and milk it as much as I can. That would be one of my dreams. I admire Jennifer Lopez so much for that because she's been able to handle that so well -- having been in movies and doing everything she's been doing -- so, I definitely want to be like her for sure."
Rodriguez noted that while she always wanted to be considered a Latin-American artist during her time on American Idol, she had also experienced things from the opposite perspective in 2008 when she competed on the fifth season of Objetivo Fama, an Idol-like Spanish singing competition that airs in Puerto Rico.
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"I was really really young. I was the youngest contestant -- made it to seventh place -- It wasn't as big as American Idol, but it was so funny because when I was on that Spanish show, I was the American one and I was trying to show what I can do with my Americanized style of singing. It was just like the roles kind of reversed, and when I was on the show, the judges were telling me, 'Stay out of the Pop! Don't sing Pop. Spanish people don't understand what you're trying to do with your voice,'" Rodriguez told reporters.
"I listened to that and I lost myself in the competition and I regretted that I didn't stay true to who I was. I always told myself that no matter what, if I was ever in another competition, I was going to always stay true to myself. And when I got to American Idol, I used that experience and I was like, 'This is my chance to really shine and show people who I am.' That's why I decided to bring on the Spanish, because I needed to make it known that I wanted to be a Latin-American artist and I feel that I accomplished that on the time that I was there."
Rodriguez said she was never scared that singing parts of some of her American Idol performances in Spanish may have isolated her votes from some home viewers.
"No, not at all. For me, I know it had to do a lot with the votes, but my main focus was always showing people who I was and being myself on the show. I wanted to be diverse, I wanted to make it known that I wanted to be a Latin-American Idol. That's my thing and honestly, I really can't control the votes. All I can do is do my best every week and make a career out of this exposure -- just take it to the next level and use it -- that's a big major push in my life and I think I accomplished that," Rodriguez said.
She also said she was close with all of Idol's tenth-season contestants and could not pick a potential winner or favorite out of the talented group.
"I don't have favorites! I just have a lot of friends and people that I'm rooting for. I'm just really excited to see how everybody progresses, because I know that eventually there's at least one person out every week. That can change every week. So, I really don't know," Rodriguez told reporters.