It’s safe to say at least one person who got kicked off American Idol on March 8 had it coming. But you wouldn’t know it from talking to Antonella Barba, a self-described ”artist” who’s already fielding calls about her next move. Both Jared Cotter and ”Sundance” Head can’t seem to let the reality of elimination sink in, while Sabrina Sloan, ever the calm, cool, and collected songbird, is taking some down time at a spa to think about her future. Here’s what the four latest Idol rejects had to say when they called EW. From pornographic pictures to psychiatry to Paula Abdul, they had a lot on their minds…
Antonella, you looked pretty shaken up last night. How are you doing today?
Not bad. I’m doing pretty good right now.
What were you thinking in those tense few seconds before Ryan announced you were going home?
Basically, of all the opportunities I wanted so bad that I would have gotten in the top 12. I knew I wouldn’t be getting them if I was cut before the top 12. I was really upset, let down, and disappointed to fall short of my goal.
During auditions, the judges were really into you, saying you had a better voice than your formally trained friend, but lately they’ve been vicious. What do you make of the turnaround?
It was definitely hard to deal with, to go from a certain level of confidence to having it ripped apart on national television. It was definitely discouraging, especially because I started off being liked. But you can’t win with those judges.
Did you get an opportunity to talk to them after the show last night?
No. We don’t really get to see the judges outside of the show. I just tried to get my mind off it. I went out to dinner with some friends and we basically started thinking about all the new things coming up for me that could be opportunities.
Did you think the judges were overly harsh? Did you think you hit every note and they just weren’t hearing things right?
No, there are parts of it where you could see what they were saying but there were parts where they were just trying to be harsh. They say things just to say things. I respect their opinion. But them saying songs were too big for me I didn’t appreciate. And I didn’t appreciate being compared to other people.
How was it trying to focus on the competition when the rumor mill was working overtime, putting out pictures of you less than fully clothed?
It was very difficult. It was distracting and I tried to block it out and not go on the Internet. When it comes down to it, the pictures are irrelevant to me as an artist. That’s my personal life and it was exploited.
Do you know which friends leaked the pictures?
I have no way of tracing who it was. It was personal private property that got stolen from my computer. It was not meant for anyone else to see but me.
And the pictures of someone performing a sex act that some claimed were you?
Those explicit ones were definitely not me.
On the plus side, you got more publicity than any other contestant. I know you can’t talk specifics, but have offers been coming in?
I haven’t set up any meetings yet, but yeah, there have been offers.
Do you think you’ll stay in Los Angeles to pursue them?
I’d love to move to L.A. I hope there’s an opportunity for me here. I need to see what offers are out there on the table.
If you’re thinking about moving to L.A., you’re probably thinking about acting or modeling, right?
I’d love to do all three, act, model, and sing. I’m definitely willing to sort out the offers I get and figure out what’s best for me. I’d love to act, but singing is my ultimate goal.
I’m sure men’s magazines will be offering you covers. Would you consider that?
I’m definitely willing to look at whatever I’m offered and sort out what feels right to me.
Were the rest of the finalists comforting?
Everyone was really comforting. The eliminations are so hard to go through whether or not you get cut. Basically everyone just keeps saying, ”Don’t worry about it. You have nothing to worry about. Something will come out of this. You’ll be fine.”
In light of everything you went through on the show, do you have any regrets?
I don’t regret anything. Even where I can recognize I made mistakes I think I learned from them. I tried to improve each week. I just wish I had had the opportunity to do even better.
I thought your performance this week was one of your better ones too.
Yeah, this most recent week was definitely my strongest of the three but all three I worked upwards. I was hoping it would keep progressing that way.
Sabrina, the look on your face when Ryan announced Haley was staying and you were leaving was one of total shock. Has it set in yet?
It’s starting to set in after talking about it all day.
You must have thought you were safe, especially considering Simon couldn’t remember Haley’s name the night before.
Haley was my roommate and good friend. We talked about it a lot, what’s going to happen. You just never know. I kept saying I was going to go into this week and have fun and enjoy my song and not worry about the Thursday thing. I was really at peace during the day today.
So what went wrong?
Part of it maybe was because of the comments the judges said that I would be in the top 12. I didn’t think at the time, ”Oh wait. This could backfire.” You just never know what to expect with the show. I’ve watched it for five years. I know that’s the way it goes.
The judges also seemed disappointed. Did they say anything to you?
Absolutely. They all came up to me and their words of support were really encouraging, about how at this point it’s no longer about singing and it’s about popularity. You can’t always count on everyone who wants you to go ahead and vote.
Because it’s a popularity vote to an extent, did you think about things like how you wore your hair or what outfit you put on more than you might have otherwise?
Absolutely. Especially this week I really tried to take the comments from the second week into consideration. The judges said I didn’t come off as young. I tried to return to that. I felt like I looked my best. I felt like I sang strongly. I enjoyed the song. That’s the way to go out. If I had been disappointed in my performance I would be more upset today.
Did you get to bond with the other three people kicked off?
You hug everyone on stage but you don’t really get to talk to them. Antonella and Jared and Sundance were in this other room with me after the show and we all rewatched the show together. We were there to comfort each other. It’s an amazing group of talented people. You just knew there’s no way we all aren’t going to have successes. There’s life after Idol, we kept telling each other.
Which Diana Ross song were you planning on singing next week?
”You Can’t Hurry Love.” I was already planning it out in my head how I wanted the band to do it. I was thrilled about meeting her. She’s an icon. The ’60s and ’70s are my genre. That’s the real disappointing part, not getting to work with all the people coming. Hopefully I’ll still get to work with them someday.
Are you pursuing any offers we should know about?
I do have some agent meetings. I’m still represented by 19 Management until the show is over so I have some time. I’m going to take a week, go to Santa Barbara, go to a spa, and relax. From there I’ll keep writing music and get everything lined up so when the calls do come in I’ll be ready.