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'Idol' exit Q&A: Amanda Overmyer

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Kristy Lee Cook, Amanda Overmyer, ...

The plug has been pulled on the Rock & Roll Nurse. In the first shocker of the American Idol season, Janis Joplin sound-alike Amanda Overmyer got sent home after singing ”Back in the U.S.S.R.” during Beatles week II. She may not be smiling, but she sure isn’t crying either. Amanda called EW to talk about why she might go back to nursing and whether or not she’ll bother watching the rest of the competition.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Amanda, how on earth did you get voted off instead of Kristy Lee Cook?
AMANDA OVERMYER: That’s been the general consensus so far today. That’s awesome that everybody’s surprised.

Surely you must have been surprised when Ryan said you were in the bottom three. You seem to get a lot of cheers every time you perform.
I wasn’t really surprised. I didn’t have any preconceived notions about what place I would land in. I knew I was going to be in the bottom half of the top 12. It was just a matter of what week I was going to go. When they called me to the bottom three, I thought that at least I gave it a good run and I got some exposure.

Why did you think you’d be in the bottom of the top 12?
Just because of how different I am. And the demographics of the people that like me don’t necessarily correlate with American Idol fans and viewers. I think I turned a few heads to the show that typically wouldn’t have watched, but that doesn’t mean they voted. As long as I got enough hype in the underbelly of pop culture, I accomplished what I wanted to. Getting that popular vote would have required me to change a few things.

Like singing a ballad?
Yeah, and the answer is no, I wouldn’t have done it. If we got to do four or five songs, sure, I’ll throw a ballad in there. But when you’ve got people like Carly and Syesha and big ballads are what they do, I’m not even going to try to do a big ballad. Take Chris Daughtry’s song ”Home.” Excellent song. But put it right there next to a Celine Dion ballad and whose is going to be better?

Chris Daughtry’s?
Well, that’s what my opinion would be. But for the general pop culture viewing public there’s a different answer.

Sometimes you had this look on your face like ”What the hell am I doing here?” Is that what you were feeling?
I thought that every day. But I wouldn’t have gotten recognized if I had not done the show. I don’t have it in me to come to L.A. and beat the pavement to be a rock star. That’s why I went to college and got a mortgage and got a career.

Why do you think the judges were so obsessed with you smiling? What was up with Simon saying ”It’s okay to smile” to you?
That particular day I had caught the bug that everyone else had already. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to sound like, ”Oh, woe is me. I am sick.” Now that I’m off the show, I can tell you I just didn’t feel good and wanted to get off the stage as quick as I could.

Do you think that little spat you had with Simon on Tuesday night when he scolded you that ”you haven’t sold any tickets yet” hurt you?
I was just being honest with him. With Simon, the only thing with him is he’s a male and men have huge egos and pride and they gotta have the last word, but he didn’t get the last word. I did. I didn’t consider that an argument. I was just being honest when I said it’s fine if I’m selling 50 tickets in a bar in Lafayette.

NEXT PAGE: ” I’ll probably give it a good six months or so and beat the pavement. This will not be the unicorn I will chase for the rest of my life.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Would you ever go back to being a nurse?
AMANDA OVERMYER: I might have to. You never know. Number 11 is still pretty far down there on the food chain. Hopefully I created enough attention that somebody wants to pick me up and let me do something with music. But chances are they won’t and I might end up right back where I started. I’ll probably give it a good six months or so and beat the pavement. If this ends up being my 15 minutes of fame I will gracefully bow out and move on to do something different. This will not be the unicorn I will chase for the rest of my life.

Wow. That is so refreshing to hear. Usually when I do these interviews, the contestant talks on and on about how he or she is destined to be a star.
I hate those f—king answers. Are you kidding me?

Sad but true. So do you think you’ll stay in L.A. for a while?
I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know if it’ll be a back and forth thing. I haven’t had any conversations with the lawyer or 19 [Entertainment]. I am so green at this. I don’t know what to do next. I have a lot of questions and am going to need somebody to take me by the hand and say, ”Okay, Amanda…”

Are you going to treat yourself to a gift — maybe a new Harley — to reward yourself for coming this far?
You know, the only thing I’ve bought myself this whole time is the jacket I wore last night. I got it on Venice Beach for $20.

What did the Idol in-house shrink make of you?
Every time I got ripped on the show, he would meet me immediately afterwards and be like, ”Are you okay?” I used to always joke with him, ”I’ll call you later when I’m jumping off the building. You’ll have to convince me not to jump.” I’m so mouthy sometimes. I haven’t been emotional over this. I pretty much made his job easy.

Anyone you’re most looking forward to hearing as the show progresses?
I don’t know. Give me four or five more weeks. I think some of them are showing potential.

Will you be watching the rest of the season?
[Looooooong, uncomfortable pause] Hmmmmm. Yeah?

That doesn’t sound very convincing.
I don’t know. I wasn’t, like, a fan of the show before. I’ll watch it more now because I know the people, so yeah, I’ll try to watch.

You sound very grounded and normal about this whole experience. Good for you.
That’s the attitude I’ve had with all of this. I’m thankful to be here and feel very privileged to have come this far. But I absolutely refuse to be nostalgic about it. You know why? That’s when you lose a sense of reality. I saw it happen with a few people. It’s just ridiculous. We have the potential to be stars right now. We’re not stars. All we are now is recognizable. That’s it. I’ve got a hell of a lot more work in front of me before I can exhale and say, ”All right. I’ve made it.”

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