”Please, God, don’t let me win this thing.” That’s what Bo Bice says he was thinking during last month’s American Idol finale. ”I’m not a pop person,” the rocker told Rolling Stone, after God granted him his wish. ”It would have been harder to play my kind of music if I had won.”

Bo’s not the only Idol winner or runner-up trying to distance himself from the show. So is last year’s champ, Fantasia Barrino, who says she’s ”not really basing everything on the Idol” because ”I want people to see me as an artist and an individual.” Her comments echo the sentiments of Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, who recently dropped her managers at 19 Entertainment (run by Idol producer Simon Fuller) and has said she won’t appear on the show anymore.

Not everyone who owes their fame to Idol is trying to disassociate themselves from it. Constantine Maroulis’ band Pray for the Soul of Betty is publicizing itself by noting that its singer has a ready-made market of 27 million Idol viewers; no Bo-like fears about his rocker cred there. (Constantine was hobnobbing with some of those fans Thursday night at EW’s Must List party.) Then there’s the novel strategy of Corey Clark, who has attacked his Idol experience while capitalizing on it at the same time. Of course, neither of them finished in the top two.

What do you think? If you’re a top finisher, does the Idol connection help or hurt your credibility? Are Bo, Fantasia, and Kelly ingrates who’ve bitten the hand that feeds them? Anybody seen Justin Guarini lately?