It was a sad night on the April 22 episode of American Idol, as the axe fell on two more contestants. First up, Lil Rounds was unceremoniously told her journey had ended, after being singled out as receiving the lowest number of votes from of the record 45 million received after Tuesday's performance show. After re-performing I'm Every Woman, Lil was told by Simon, "You made some bad decisions, but you are a great singer."
No stranger to the weekly bottom three, the second contestant to be eliminated, Anoop Desai, tells In Touch, "I had the idea I might be leaving, so I started coping before the show." Anoop got to go out on a high note though, by delivering a relaxed re-do of Dim All the Lights as his swan song. "That was the easiest performance I have ever done," he admits, adding "There's something about having the burden of having your harshest critics in front of you, and with that relieved, you could see how relaxed I was."
It appears the judges' "save vote" (awarded to Matt Giraud last week) worked. He eluded elimination and will no doubt soar in the Rat Pack theme of next week's show as part of the Top 5.
For more with this week's eliminated contestants click here.
Eliminated on April 22
"In the midst of adversity, you have to keep your head up"
The judges seemed tough on you. What do you think happened?
Lil: I don't feel it was like that at all. I feel the judges critiqued based on how the performance went. But whatever comments they gave me, I took them in stride because I did feel it was constructive and to improve me. I did feel they'd go back and forth, but it was okay. In the end, I'm taking all they gave me and pushing forward. I'll definitely have albums coming out, and everything they gave me will make for a great success.
We kept hearing, "Make it your own" — how did you feel about that?
Lil: When I'd hear that I'd automatically think I did make it my own, especially vocally. But I guess they wanted me to do more of a change, music-wise. I tried to stay true to the way the music went, but vocally I did some changing. I wanted it to fit who I was as an artist, R&B soulful, and got my vibe in there. I'm sorry the judges didn't quite agree. Still, they said I was a great singer, but I felt I knew who I was an artist.
What did you learn on Idol?
Lil: I learned that even in the midst of adversity, you have to keep your head up, stay strong and keep moving forward. The second you drop your head and give in, that is it. I felt I came back each week and sang my little heart out because I love to do that. American Idol gave me a great platform — 45 million votes came in — and it's been a blessing.
What happened with you and Allison last night, as she is now the last girl standing?
Lil: I gave her the biggest hug I could possibly give her, we were crying like two girls [laughs]. That's my baby. I told her to keep head up and continue to be Allison and go out there and nail it each week like she has been, and hold it down for the ladies. She's a phenomenal singer and will do fabulous.
Did you have a chance to see your kids yet?
Lil: No, I haven't seen the babies yet, they watched the show and I explained my run was up, but I was coming home to spend time with them before going on the tour. They are still so proud of their mommy and have been great and really tried to understand what I am doing. It's gotten warmer in Memphis, so I'm ready to go home and take them to a park and have fun. Oh, and my husband bought me a puppy, so I'm looking forward to running around with my puppy and the babies before the tour.
Eliminated on April 22
"I really learned how to bounce back from things"
Given you had been in the bottom three a few times, did you feel it was your time to leave?
Anoop: I think we always think about that on the inside, but it's amazing how many people in that group thought they were going home last night. It was really a toss-up.
What did you learn on your time on the show?
Anoop: For me, I really learned how to bounce back from things. A lot of times I am really hard on myself, and if I don't live up to my own standards, I used to look at it as a failure. But I have learned how learn from my mistakes. To me, it was very humbling to see how good everyone was.
Did it get tense in the mansion with fewer people each week?
Anoop: Not at all, and that was the amazing thing. When I started this, I was expecting not to get along with everyone, especially when you are competing and living in close quarters — I'd imagine it would have been a bit much. But the great thing about this group is we are very good friends and help each other. The competition is not the end-all, be-all of us — we have futures. For us, it was a growing and learning process. It's amazing how we all got along and everyone brought something different to the table. The mansion was a great place to be and as fewer people were left, we got to spend more time together and bond more. It was not the tense environment a lot of people would imagine it to be.
What did you and Lil say to each other afterward?
Anoop: It's nice to have her here to cushion the blow. We said how we are proud of how far we have come and are both eager to start on albums. She has a clear idea of what she wants to do, and I know I want to go the pop/R&B route and put my own soul in pop songs. I am looking forward to making that album.
Do you have plans to go back to school, or is it all music from now on?
Anoop: I'm definitely pursuing music. If I learned nothing else from this experience, I learned singing is what I am the happiest doing and think it's what I do the best. One of the best comments I got from the judges was from Kara after my last performance, when she said, "I could hear that song on the radio." That's what I was going for and look forward to making in the future.