Sophie Zalokar said she wasn't expecting to be booted from Nashville Star's sixth season during Monday night's live broadcast along with her duet partner Laura Fedor

"I'm going to honestly say I was a little bit shocked, but it's anyone's competition now," she told Reality TV World during a Tuesday conference call. "Everyone's really good and I really can't say who I think is going home next, but I was shocked in the sense that I was kind of hoping we'd get further."

Fedor, an 18-year-old from Willoughby, OH, and Zalokar, a 16-year-old from East Lake, OH, were ousted from Nashville Star's sixth season based on home viewer votes cast immediately following the July 7 episode

"Because it was such a stiff competition, Sophie and I have been planning for the worst but hoping for the best just so we wouldn't be let down with going home," Fedor told Reality TV World.

The duo was one of the sixth-season's youngest acts, and at times it showed -- as Zalokar was criticized for being disrespectful by judge John Rich after she rolled her eyes at fellow judge Jewel during the July 7 broadcast. 

However Fedor told reporters she doesn't think their age should have been as big of an issue as it ended up being.

"I don't understand that if they thought we were too young to be in the competition why were we chosen to be in this competition," said Fedor. 

"I believe that Sophie and I definitely have potential to get somewhere with our music.  We have a lot of talent. We do have a lot of time ahead of us. We're 16 and 18 years old, but LeAnn Rimes was 13 or 14 years old and she got pretty big pretty quick and nothing stopped her, so we're not letting anything stop us."

While Fedor and Zalokar both said Rich and Jewel were guilty of failing to provide them with constructive criticism, Zalokar added at least they could count on the third sixth-season judge and mentor, Jeffrey Steele.

"Jeffrey is just a genuinely sweet guy. And everything he says is from the heart and he truly means it," she told reporters.  "He has kids of his own, so he knows how to kind of deal with girls our age, and he's just everything - he's so sweet with everything on and off camera, and he doesn't change personalities at all. He's the same."

Unfortunately, Fedor couldn't say the same about Rich.

"He's actually pleasant off camera. He's fun to talk to sometimes, and he's definitely intimidating," she said.  "We were working with him like the other day and he is pretty intimidating, but we definitely see a change in personality when the camera is on him."
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Fedor and Zalokar were captured arguing with each other during a recent Nashville Star episode, which the judges considered another characteristic of their young age -- and Fedor offered an explanation.

"We were very stressed out and we were letting things get to us," she told reporters.  "The big argument that Sophie and I had is totally gone. It rolled off our shoulders and it pumped us more than it hurt us."

Zalokar echoed Fedor's comments about the "little bickering" the BFFs were engaged in.

"I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we were keeping little things that aggravated us in for the sake of the competition so that something like that wouldn't happen. And so when it actually finally did come out it was way worse than it should have been," explained Zalokar. 

"The show has definitely tested our friendship further and we've survived it and we could have survived it had we won. That just proves to both of us that we can handle anything that you throw at us and we're definitely in it together and we're going to stay together and it's not going t ruin our friendship."

Not surprisingly, both girls said they feel as though their Nashville Star sixth-season journey helped them mature.

"From the first audition my personality and my maturity level has definitely changed," said Fedor.  "Everything that I've known before this competition has pretty much changed. It changed my view on life and everything that I thought was reasonable. Now I think that I was being unreasonable. I can't even explain what an impact it had on me."

"I definitely feel this competition has changed me so much," added Zalokar.  "I feel like I am definitely a completely different person than I was when I started out. We both definitely matured a lot and we now understand more of how the business works so that when we do hopefully get into it for real, we'll know what to expect a little bit more than we did before."

Fedor missed her high school graduation to compete on the NBC reality series -- which she said was a "big deal" -- and both plan to plow ahead with their music careers.

"I don't have a college lined up, but I do want to go to college. I want to go to college for communications. I want to be on TV. I want to do broadcasting, so that's what I want to do," said Fedor.  "Sophie wants to finish up high school and then we can move further on with our music careers."

Zalokar was confident that her still being in high school wouldn't hinder the duo.

"We've gone through a lot together and I honestly don't feel that me being in high school and her being in college is going to have too much of an impact on our friendship or our career," she said.  "We're definitely going to keep in touch and still work on our music and we definitely want to stay a duo."

Zalokar said participating in Nashville Star was "the best experience," and added it was "especially great" to do it with her best friend.

"We definitely took a lot from this competition," said Zalokar.  "We've kind of gained a better stage presence. We kind of have our own sound. We know that we can do modern country now as well as the classics that we've been doing for such a long time.  We have more experience. I mean we can say we've been on a national television show; that's just amazing in itself so we're taking a lot from the show and it was just all together an amazing experience for us."