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'American Idol' Exit Q&A: Lacey Brown on what she'd look for in a winner

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Lacey-Brown

Image Credit: Frank Micelotta/Fox

The results are in, and it’s the end of the line for Lacey Brown on American Idol. But the 24-year-old fire-haired singer doesn’t think it’s the end of the line for her career. In our post-elimination talk with Brown, she talks about what’s next and the benefits of waterproof mascara.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So tell me, how are you holding up after last night’s elimination?

LACEY BROWN: You know, I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I got about 15 minutes. But I didn’t do anything too strenuous. It’s not like we went out partying or anything like that. I’m not a party girl. We pretty much just went back to our place and hung out with the contestants and laughed a lot and we joked around and played some pool, stuff like that. [We] just had some fun last night, and [I’m] glad I stayed because I’m definitely going to miss them, so I wanted to spend some time with them before I left. But I’ve lost a lot of sleep before — this isn’t the first time. So I’ll probably get over it because it’s really exciting to be [doing] all the interviews and shows and stuff coming up.

Let’s talk about last night. When you were getting ready to do ”The Story” for a chance at the Judge’s Save, what was going through your head?

At that moment I just knew ”I’m just going to try to sing this without bawling too much,” without making a fool of myself while I cried. I’m no fool. I knew it was highly unlikely that they were going to use their wild card on the very first cut so I didn’t expect, I should say, for them to save me on that one. I knew the comments they had about some of my other songs and choices and stuff like that. So it wasn’t like I was expecting them say, ”Oh yea, you can stay.” But I knew that I had a moment to sing to America again, and I was going to make the most of it whether I was crying or not. I just tried to do my best with it, and that’s what I did. Maybe not the best performance I’ve ever done because I was crying, but I definitely had fun with is.

You looked composed to me.

Everyone says that. I say, ”I had really good mascara, waterproof.”

Good plan! But jumping off your comment about the judge’s critiques. You were told before that you were ”over thinking” things on stage. Do you agree with that looking back?

You know, it’s hard to say. I was thinking about performing while I was performing because you have to think about performing while you’re performing. You should in a little way anyway so you don’t fall off the stage or something. But yea, I do see I tend to think out what I’m about to do on stage because I’m not a great dancer. I don’t tend to move a whole lot. I should have worked the stage a little bit better. As far as thinking through it all, I could have let loose a lot more. I agree with that comment. But looking back at it, when we put together what I was going to be doing and what cameras I was going to be looking at, you have to rehearse those things. It’s not like they throw you up there and you sing. You’ve already rehearsed it. You kind of have to remember things that people really wouldn’t normally think of when they’re performing on a regular stage. ”There’s a lot of cameras,” and ”There’s a new stage I haven’t walked across a whole lot before,” and ”There are different areas of the stage where I could fall off the stage and I have really high heels on,” and ”I don’t want to miss looking at the crowd over to the left.” You know, there is a lot to think about. Especially when it’s TV, there are cameras and everybody’s involved. So I don’t disagree, but I definitely know I was thinking through it, but I think you have to.

Watching you and some of the others from last week get voted off has fueled a lot of criticism of this season. Some are saying that the wrong people are being voted off. What do you think America is looking for?

I think America is really looking for a fresh, new singer-songwriter type of person. I don’t think there’s anything new under the sun music-wise most of the time, but I do know there are fresh voices just like there are fresh faces out there. It’s gotta be unique and they’ve gotta be themselves. So I definitely think that’s what America’s looking for. That’s what I’d be looking for in an American Idol coming in this season. I’m really excited to see who the winner’s going to be. I’m really close to everybody.

Do you think that unique thing is still left in the competition?

I definitely do. I think every single one of them have their unique taste and vibe they are giving off. I don’t, however, think that American Idol [producers] were just like, ”Let’s just pick whoever this season.” I think they were genuinely looking for that type of person anyway. So every single one of the contestants has that going on for them this season, as opposed to other seasons.

Speaking about you specifically, what do you think happened? Why weren’t the votes there?

I had a lot of comments that my music wasn’t upbeat enough, that it was too sleepy. I really like music that kind of calms you or music that is easy listening. I’m not always listening to hardcore this or that or screaming, belting voices all the time. I’m an old soul and I like lyrics that mean something. I want to tell a story and sometimes that lends me to singing a ballad-y type song. I think maybe if I were to say I had a fault, I think I did that a little too much. But that being said, I don’t know what else I could have done besides that. That’s who I am and what I like to sing. I don’t just like to get up and sing a song that is upbeat just because it’s upbeat. I want a song to mean something to me. A song that means something to me is always going to trump the tempo of a song for me. So that’s what I did, and I wouldn’t change any of my performances even though I think maybe that was my downfall. I think my fans definitely appreciated what I did with the arrangements of my songs. And I have a lot of fans that never thought my performances were sleepy at all. They thought that they were moving or touching or had great lyrics. So it’s all in the opinion of the listener.

And the judges too.

Yes.

Speaking of judges, who do you think gave you the best advice?

I definitely think Kara and Simon gave me great advice: ”Find out who you are and stick to that.” That’s what I tried to do every single week.

What are your post-Idol plans?

You know, Simon said something about how I act through my performances, which I don’t think I necessarily agree with because I think I just feel the songs. But I was thinking about it last night and anything in the entertainment field would be a great fit for me. A lot of people were saying comments that my look fits the part for entertainment and I think that’s a great compliment. Whatever doors that opens is great for me. But I do know that music is going to be a huge part of my life no matter what.

You said on Idol that the kind of artist you want to be is ”the type that evokes emotion.” I know it’s hard to be put on the spot on the stage, so I wanted to give you a chance to explain that a little bit.

I definitely chose a lot of songs I felt and Simon said at one point it was a little self-indulgent, but I feel like an artist should always be honest with their interpretation of the song. And I definitely was honest about what the song meant to me and what it could mean for other people. That’s what I meant when I said I like to ”evoke emotion.” Not only do I want to get up there and sing a love song, I want someone to say, ”Yea, that’s how I feel about this person here. I love them and Lacey just sang out what my feelings were for that person.” That’s the type of thing I was talking about. I definitely feel that as an artist that’s my favorite part about music. I’m not an artist who just gets up and rocks out and people go home feeling like they got their faces rocked off [laughs]. I want people to walk away with a deep meaning of what the song meant and an understanding of what the song meant to them.

So is there anything else you want to add about the future or the Idol experience?

It’s been a great ride. It’s been a two-year ride for me. [Brown made it to the Top 54 in 2009.] I feel blessed, happy, content in where I stand with the competition and being No. 12 is a great accomplishment for me. I don’t regret anything. I’m excited for the future and ready to get to work immediately and see what opens up for me.