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Stephanie Edwards: ''It's not the end of the world''

Young Miss Edwards tells EW.com how she thinks the judges — and the crying girl TV coverage — affected her fate, and dishes the dirt on the late-night habits of this season’s 21-and-up contestants

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Frank Micelotta

You thought Stephanie Edwards was sweet but timid on American Idol? Try talking to the girl the morning after having her dreams crushed by getting the boot. Is she angry? Nope. Ready to cut the braids off that weepy kid? Not even close. At least she dished about what the ”adult” contestants do at night.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Stephanie, how do you sound so happy and calm today?
STEPHANIE EDWARDS: I’m okay. I’m good, actually. I don’t know why. I just have a very positive attitude.

I know the judges didn’t love your rendition of ”You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” but I definitely didn’t think you’d be going home this week.
I did. I felt I was going home because of my performance and what the judges had to say. I felt what they said was going to sway America’s vote.

Do you really think what the judges say sways America’s vote so much?
If you have diehard fans who are going to vote for you no matter what, the judges can’t sway them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fans like that, so I knew what they said would sway America. But there was nothing I could do about it. They tell you advice. They’re honest.

Did you know about the crying girl during the show?
We saw her at the end. It was so cute. It was amazing that she was so excited and all in tears to see all of us. It’s always nice to see fans. It’s funny. We don’t see ourselves as celebrities, but millions of people are watching us on TV.

Do you think maybe it was a little bit unfair that they kept cutting to her while one person was singing? Maybe it gave that one person — let’s call him Sanjaya Malakar — a bit of an unfair advantage?
I agree. But that’s just how it works. Simon pointed her out too.

It seemed like a bunch of contestants this week were deciding between two songs. Were you torn between two or did you have your heart set on this one?
When I heard that song I was like, ”This one is it for me.” Even when I was performing, I was thinking, ”This is a great song and the judges are going to love it and America is going to love it.” I had no idea the judges were going to hate it and America was not going to vote enough.

Did you watch the show back to see how you did?
I haven’t watched the show back. I’ve heard it today playing in the background while I’ve done interviews. It sounded good to me.

Were you excited when Lulu compared you to Beyoncé? Because you didn’t look all that thrilled.
It’s always nice to hear that. I love Beyoncé. I think she’s an awesome singer, performer, and actress. It’s okay to be compared to celebrities that are already very successful and I wouldn’t mind emulating her success. But it’s hard when you’re on a show looking for an original new artist. I don’t know if it hurt me or not.

Had you gotten a chance to meet Gwen Stefani yet in preparation for next week’s pop music theme?
Not yet.

Did you know what you were going to sing?
I was deciding between three songs: ”True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, ”Nothing Compares 2 U” by Prince, and ”MacArthur Park” by Donna Summer. I would have decided today.

Maybe it was because the show ran over, but TV viewers didn’t get to see you sing last night. Did you?
I did. I sang for the audience. It wasn’t that great, though, because I was crying.

At 19 years old, you were one of the younger contestants on the show. Did friendships break down along age lines?
Yes, definitely. It was me, Sanjaya, and Jordin hanging out while the other people were out drinking.

Yeah, we couldn’t drink so we couldn’t go out with them. I was bored most of the time because I’m too old to have a parent but too young to do things all the adults were out doing.

I love that you refer to anyone over 21 as an adult. What did you do while the ”adults” were out?
Slept a lot because they all went out late. I was either sleeping or practicing my song. It worked to my advantage because LaKisha and Gina were my roommates so I had the advantage of being able to practice a lot.

If you could parlay your American Idol fame into anything, what would you do?
I would love to perform at the BET Awards.

I think of all the girls on the show you had by far the best style. I always loved to see what dress you’d have on. Did the stylists help out or was it all you?
[Laughing] No, I didn’t need help from the stylist. They would pick out things and I would say if I liked it or not. My dresses always came to my knees because I didn’t want anything too short. I would let them know ahead of time that I’m not going to wear a mini-skirt or a mini-dress. I like to stay very classy. I just don’t think that’s classy to wear a little mini-skirt on stage where it’s like everyone can see under your dress. When it was Hollywood week, my Dad picked out everything I wore and it was always at least to my knees so I just kept doing that.

Maybe your Dad wants to adopt Haley Scarnato. Was he there last night to comfort you?
My cousins were there but my parents weren’t. They were going to come out next week with my sister. But I didn’t want to talk about it anyway. I just tried not to think about it because I didn’t want to get bummed out. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just the end of me being on American Idol.