Shannon Magrane: Girl viewers have to vote for 'American Idol' girls
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/16/2012
Shannon Magrane was eliminated from American Idol during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox, determining the eleventh season's Top 10 finalists.
Shannon, a 16-year-old from Tampa, FL, became the third finalist sent home from American Idol's eleventh season after she received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 11 finalists performing songs from the year each contestant was born.
During a conference call with reporters on Friday, Shannon talked to Reality TV World about her American Idol experience and early elimination from the competition -- including whether she and her fellow female contestants worried about their chances competing and winning against the guys based on American Idol's recent track record of having more male champions and finale finalists, what her thoughts were on Jermaine Jones' disqualification and whether any of the finalists have reached out to contact him yet, and why she believed Idol's judges weren't going to use their save on her.
Reality TV World: What was the sentiment among the women finalists this season? Last season, the first four eliminated finalists were all girls and the season prior to that was a similar situation. Was that something yourself and the girls had been concerned about or discussed before the finals began?
Shannon Magrane: That's a really good question. I haven't gotten this question yet. Actually, you know, there's been obviously guys who have been winning the past couple years and all the girls I know are fighting for that spot to be the next American Idol, and I certainly was.
I just wish that, you know, there's like [Phillip Phillips] and [Heejun Han] and all these teenage girls like, "Oh my God they're so funny!" And, "Oh my God! He's so cute!" We understand that, but it's like -- we're thinking like -- the girls got to vote for the girls. We've got to stick with them and we've got to have that girl power and we've got to all stick together.
Reality TV World: American Idol hasn't had a female winner since Jordin Sparks in Season 6 and it's had only three women in the finale over the last five seasons. So just to clarify, do you think a woman can win again?
Shannon Magrane: I believe it strongly, but the guys do have [an advantage] -- the guys do have a competitive edge. So I really can't wait to see what everybody's going to bring out.
Reality TV World: This was the first week "The Judges' Save" was introduced this season, so did you think it would be realistic for them to use it so early in the competition when you landed in the bottom three?
Shannon Magrane: I don't think that they should've used it so early in the competition because you never who can be so good and then be kicked off and they won't use it or they might use it. And watching the [last] season with [Casey Abrams], I believe that they should've used it, because Casey is so talented.
I think that if they used it for me, then America wouldn't have too much to look forward to with the save and everything. I mean, I do feel really good about how I sang and I feel confident in myself and I feel like I can do so much better than I did on Idol. I am really looking forward to surprising myself in the future.
Reality TV World: So did you think the judges' decision not to save you was more about wanting to keep the save around longer in the competition to make sure they could avoid a repeat of last season where they had saved Casey and were not able to save Pia Toscano later on, than about you and your potential?
Shannon Magrane: Yes, I do definitely agree with that. There are people who are older than me and know more music than me and who are a lot more experienced.
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I think that they thought I wasn't ready yet, but I feel in my heart that I am ready and that's why I'm going to go home and I'm going to practice and I'm going to come back and I'm going to be a lot different than I was before. I think that I'm going to surprise everybody.
Reality TV World: Did you ever find out whether the judges' vote to not save you was unanimous or not? And if you found out that the decision was not unanimous, who was pulling to keep you around and why?
Shannon Magrane: It's hard to tell because they were giving me the best feedback and they were working on helping me grow as an artist and a performer throughout these past few weeks. And it's probably safe to say that because I've grown. I'm looking back at my audition in August and thinking about it and I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh. I've grown so much."
And I can't take anything but good memories from this whole thing. It was just such a great learning experience and it was just a taste of what's going to happen in the future. I know that all of them are so proud of me, just as much as I'm proud of myself. And I'm going to come back and be ready.
Reality TV World: What are your thoughts on Jermaine Jones' disqualification now that you've had some more time to think about it since you first discovered the news and a lot more details have surfaced?
Shannon Magrane: It's honestly the same and I know exactly what he's going through. It's really painful and I feel bad for him. None of the other contestants have texted him yet or anything. They just wanted to give him room to breathe and room to think about everything. We just thought that was the best choice. We really missed him for that day, but I know exactly how he feels.
Also during the call, Shannon told reporters whether she ever got a better explanation as to why she was eliminated, how she felt about not lasting long enough in the competition to be part of the Idol tour and whether she plans on going back to high school while pursuing a singing career.
Did you ever speak with the judges following your elimination and get a better explanation as to why you were ousted?
Shannon Magrane: Unfortunately, I didn't get to speak with the judges. I really didn't because they gave me the best and most honest feedback and they know exactly how it feels to be standing on that stage. They know how it feels when they're told "yes" and they know how it feels when they're told "no."
They knew exactly how I was feeling, so I never got to talk to them, which was really sad. But they know that I can sing and I know that I can sing. So, I feel like I left on a good note.
Was there anyone you met whom you were very excited to spend time with while on the show?
Shannon Magrane: Well, all of them -- all of the 10 contestants -- it was so amazing that I was surrounded by them because they know exactly what they want in their music and they're so smart and they're so wise.
Also, really enjoyed being with the minors, the other 16 and 17-year-olds, because I was with them all the time. I was in school with them all the time and I'm smiling right now just thinking about it, because I'm going to miss them all so much.
You took on some songs recorded by powerhouse singers like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. Did you think that had any affect on America's vote since they were so familiar with those songs and maybe put you up to a higher standard because of those choices?
Shannon Magrane: I don't know. I don't know. I don't think so, because it's Whitney and Mariah and there are so many people who sing because they make such great music. But I don't think it was a negative because it was just really hard to be up on the stage and sing songs and do really, really well.
I think that I did it in my own way and interpreted it my own way, and I'm really glad with what I am right now. I'm really proud of myself.
You were eliminated one step away from being able to be part of the Top 10 and tour with American Idol this summer. How did that make you feel since you were so close but didn't quite make it?
Shannon Magrane: It's definitely really upsetting because I really wanted to go on tour, and this is what I've wanted to do since I was a little girl, and I was so close to it! I will always remember sitting in front of the TV and being like, "Mom, dad, I remember this! I want to do this! This is so cool. I want to show everybody what I've got inside."
And that's exactly what I had to do. I had to stand out and sing on that big stage in front of millions of people. I'm really hoping that I've inspired a lot of people and kind of showed everybody who I am.
When do you plan to return to your high school?
Shannon Magrane: I don't know. I mean, the one thing I'm not looking forward to is school because I just want to sing all the time and I really wanted to do the tour, so I'm really upset about that. But I'm really looking forward to making my own music and making myself an album and doing all those kinds of stuff, so I'm excited to see what's in store for myself.
After being a contestant on American Idol and having that experience, how do you go back to being a normal 16-year-old?
Shannon Magrane: You don't. I mean, this is hard because I've been living this lifestyle for a couple months now and there's just this giant bubble that you're surrounded in where people are like, "You have to go out the back way" or "You have to go out this way" or "We're taking you through secret ways."
And it's just, I mean, I still go to school. So, it's definitely really cool to walk around as a teenage girl in school with my other minors and friends, but it's definitely hard to be adjusting to a new environment.
But I don't think that I'm going to be normal anymore because there are lots of people out there who know who I am now and they're waiting to hear more from me, and I'm not going to stop until they do. So, that's what I'm looking forward to.
Now that your father doesn't have to be nice anymore, do you think he's going to have a chat with Steven Tyler about what he said to you regarding your good looks during one of your first auditions?
Shannon Magrane: My dad is definitely the most kind and welcoming and a gentle-giant, as you guys would say. He definitely took that as a joke. My dad thought it was just a funny quote from Steven Tyler moment. So, he wasn't mad about that at all. He just thought it was funny because it made great TV and lots of my friends saw it and thought it was hilarious.
And looking back at it, I just thought it was really funny. But Steven Tyler is the legendary Steven Tyler, and for him to say that about me just made me laugh. When I was watching it on TV, it made me kind of feel a little uncomfortable like, "Oh my God! When is this going to end?! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!" It was edited like that though, but that was the best part -- was the editing. But it's great, I love it.
What's the most important lesson you'll take away from your experience onAmerican Idol?
Shannon Magrane: Definitely to be yourself. I know lots of people, who to them, that's number one. But it is. When you're yourself, you can shine more than everybody else, and people recognize you because you are you.
And being surrounded by all these other 10 contestants, I could really close my eyes and when each person sings, I can tell, "Oh that's Phillip or that's Heejun or that's [Hollie Cavanagh] and [Jessica Sachez] and [Skylar Laine]. You can tell each and every person because we were all so different from one another.
Looking back, is there anything you think you could or should have done differently?
Shannon Magrane: I don't know if it was as much something I should have done different. I really worked really hard and got where I wanted to be. I really wish that I could have gone on tour and been with my friends, and we miss each other already.
They've already been texting me and I've been texting them. It's definitely been a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I'm never going to forget, because this was just a little taste of what I'm going to get in the future.
The judges were pretty hard on you last week after your Celine Dion performance, so do you think that affected how people voted for you this week?
Shannon Magrane: Maybe it did, but I think it was about that one note that I got wrong and I think that I performed to the best of my ability and I stuck it through and I did the best that I could. And I'm beyond happy with myself because what 16-year-old can say that they've been on American Idol? I'm just so glad that I got to represent Central Florida and my hometown and the Tampa Bay area.
Who do you hope to see win the competition now?
Shannon Magrane: I can't even tell you because I really want to tell you who I want, but I can't even think of one person because they're all so good. And they're all great in their own ways. They're so unique and special and honestly, I know that this is what everybody says, but truly, they're all winners in my eyes, truly. I think they could've all been the next American Idol as one person.
You were told you had a lot of potential but pushed yourself too hard. Do you agree with that, and isn't it necessary to push yourself a bit to see results?
Shannon Magrane: You know, I think that with everything, practice makes perfect. And honestly, you can never practice enough. I mean, I just want to practice all the time and keep doing what I'm doing. Most people don't think -- most people don't consider singing a sport, but to me, singing is a sport and you have to perfect things.
You have to take care of your vocal chords. You have to take care of some strange things that most people don't think is relevant. You've got to take care of your diaphragm and you have to learn the most random things that really help me, and I feel like if you practice enough, then it will be much better in the end and you can get it right naturally onstage.
Last week, Jeremy Rosado told reporters you two were extremely close friends. Do you think there is some sort of Florida conspiracy going on considering you both are from Florida and two of the first three contestants to be eliminated?
Shannon Magrane: I don't think so, but I know that Jeremy, I call him my care bear. He is the most inspirational guy that I've met and he is so true to himself. He's so genuine and so humble. I think that kind of rubbed off on me. He made me feel so special and so important, and I'm looking forward to making and continuing a long-lasting friendship with him. We live so close to one another too!
What did you do after Thursday night's live results show? Did you get emotional at all afterwards?
Shannon Magrane: Well, I had to go through a lot of interviews and stuff but it was kind of like therapy. I just let it all out and like my dad and mom said, they said, "Shannon, you know, sulk about it for a little while but then you've got to pick yourself back up, get on your feet and hold yourself high, because this isn't the end for you."
And it's not the end for me, because I'm going to pop up somewhere and you guys are going to have to look for me, because I'll be popping back up.
What was the reaction like onset when Jermaine Jones was disqualified and sent home and how did you feel about it?
Shannon Magrane: Actually, this is the worst part, we were surprised just because we found out when America found out. We were all sitting in our dressing room wondering, "Oh my God. Is this really happening?"
And all of our jaws just dropped to the floor. We were so surprised and shocked and I know exactly how it feels to go home. It's not the best feeling ever, but this is just the road for both of us and I'm ready to take the highway.