March 23, 2012 02:34 PM by Lisa Princ
Last night on FOX‘s American Idol, fans were shocked as Erika Van Pelt was eliminated from the competition after giving an impressive performance. Today, Erika chatted with the media about her Idol experience and elimination, and she revealed that she was not surprised that the judges did not save her. Read on for the full interview with Erika Van Pelt!
Erika Van Pelt may no longer in the running to be the next American Idol, but luckily, she will be going on the tour, and she is extremely excited about that. Despite the amount of disappointed fans, Erika was in great spirits today for a media conference call. Check out Erika Van Pelt’s interview below!
Question: You were fantastic, why do you think people did not ‘get’ you?
Erika Van Pelt: You know, it was just one of those things, that I think, with the past few weeks being in the bottom consecutively, that I did not have enough momentum. Even though was I was progressing each week, no matter how good I was, I was lagging behind the other contestants in momentum from the start.
Question: Do you think your new hairdo threw folks off?
Erika Van Pelt: I am sure it confused some people, who have trouble with change or seeing outside the box. If anything, I feel that it got a few more people to notice me. It’s funny because I said that “I felt like I was drowning in a sea of blondes,” even though I am a natural blonde, this was my chance to break out. Tommy Hilfiger had the idea to go short and my idea was to go dark.
Question: Do you regret changing your look?
Erika Van Pelt: I don’t regret changing it at all. The funny thing was when Tommy came on, it was more of just impeccable timing because I had been thinking of doing something drastic. Every time I asked, I was not allowed to due to consistency with the show. I think that they didn’t want to scare people before they had a chance to know me. Had I been home, I would have been changing it every 3 weeks.
Question: Did you ask the judges last night why they did not save you?
Erika Van Pelt: It was of those weird things that I didn’t even think to ask them why they didn’t. I had my preconceived notions of why they wouldn’t save me if I was in the bottom, so I was not surprised. I knew what happened last season with Pia Toscano, and they could not use their save because they already used it with Casey. They needed to save it for an even crazier elimination. I just thanked them for giving me the opportunity.
Question: What was it like going from playing music to singing it?
Erika Van Pelt: It was crazy. It was a huge transition stepping out from behind the turntables, where I had 20-30 people listening to me to literally millions of people watching me sing, and pour my heart out on stage. It was an adjustment for me to say the least. I have been on stage all of my life, but this was different, you throw in lights and cameras, and it was a whirlwind.
Question: What are your thoughts on Jen’s criticism that you needed to move around more?
Erika Van Pelt: You know what, for me, I mean, I certainly did not agree with the critique. This is mostly because I was singing New York State Of Mind. On that song, Billy Joel sits behind the piano and can still sell it. I sang to the best of my ability, and that song was dear to my heart. My cousin is a New York City firefighter, and with 9-11, that was a very special song for me to sing. So, when she said that, I felt that she wanted more of an almost fake performance, so people would think I was singing harder, which was not correct for me.
Question: What did you think of the critique all season long?
Erika Van Pelt: I will admit that Jennifer’s critique was to the point where it was a little much for me to take and a hard pill to swallow. I mean, that I wasn’t pushing hard enough. You have three judges, and behind the scenes with Jimmy. I got really confused, with so many comments contradicted from week to week. They would tell me I was not doing enough, then I was doing too much, but there was never a balance. I feel like I could never just sing and be myself because it would be one thing or another.
Question: Which mentor did you feel was the most beneficial to you?
Erika Van Pelt: To be completely honest, I worked with some amazing people: Mary J. Blige, will.am.i, and Diddy, but the most helpful was Jimmy Iovine. He was there every week, we talked about songs, and he is such a heavy hitter in the industry. To hear him be behind me after every performance, I mean a couple times he was tough, but he always said vocally I was one of the strongest. Saying that I had music in my blood meant a lot to me.
Question: What will you take away from this experience?
Erika Van Pelt: Aside from the amazing relationships I have built, American Idol has been the best catalyst for getting to the next part of my career. I am 26 and have been working my butt off at home, but in Rhode Island it is hard to get a start. I feel I needed to make that move, and American Idol was the perfect way for me to do that.
Question: Do you feel that your and Elise’s age may have played a part in folks not getting you as well?
Erika Van Pelt: Absolutely, I would be a fool to say I did not think that was a part of it. Elise & I talked about that at length – about being the two oldest and how it played a part in being in the bottom. Elise and I are more out “of the box,” and less mainstream, so it is not necessarily the easiest thing for us to breakout and let people know we can be relevant, current, and mainstream.
Question: Do you think it is harder for the girls than the guys to get votes each week?
Erika Van Pelt: I feel like we ladies felt that we had to bring something extra. It is consistent guy favoritism it seems like. You have to look at the main demographic for show, which is a lot of teenage girls. I keep saying that if I were voting at home, it would be hard for me to not vote for cute teen boys. They are all talented and different, and just really great guys.
Question: Who do you feel will win this season?
Erika Van Pelt: I honestly can’t answer that. Because of the versatility of the group makes it hard to choose anyone. I will reiterate what I said before, the girls have a harder time. It’s just one of those things that everyone is way too different to even say who would win.
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Photos courtesy: American Idol/FOX