Booted ''Idol'' contestant Melissa McGhee chats with EW's Jessica Shaw about the judges, the other contestants, and the performance that sent her packing

Credit: American Idol: Ray Mickshaw

Once this week’s American Idol bottom three — Ace Young, Melissa McGhee, and Lisa Tucker — were called up on stage, you knew it would be raspy-voiced Melissa sent packing back home to Tampa, Fla. Though she sounded pretty damn good singing Stevie Wonder’s ”Lately” (that is, when she remembered those lyrics), she was still never quite as memorable as the true stars of the season. After most of her tears dried, she gave EW a call to check in.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Melissa, when Ryan asked you if you were surprised you were going home, you were so calm, answering simply, ”No.” What was up with that?
MELISSA McGHEE: Through this whole process I’ve stayed really composed. I’ve tried to suck everything up all the time, but it got to me after the show ended. But when I went to the kiss-off dinner with the rest of the contestants, I lost my composure. And this morning, it was a little more rough. I lost it when I hugged [bandleader] Ricky Minor. Him and Ace are the two people I let it out on.

Were you happy with your performance on Tuesday night?
Obviously I wasn’t that happy because I forgot my lyrics. But half the people in the audience didn’t even notice until Randy said something about it. And then Ryan was like, ”Dude, you’re so laughing when you just screwed up in front of millions of viewers.” At least I remembered all the lyrics with [last night’s goodbye] performance.

When the producers seat you for the Wednesday-night results show, do you try to scientifically figure out what your placement means?
Yeah, totally. So far I haven’t liked where I was sitting. Last night I sat toward the middle of the group. I was like, if they’re doing bottom three someone will come from the middle, someone will come from the beginning, and someone from the end. When I was put in the middle spot, seventh in, I was like, Ugh, that sucks.

Were you surprised about Ace and Lisa joining you in the bottom three?
Definitely, I was. But you prepare to be let down. You just breathe a little bit and pray a little bit during that commercial break.

You guys all live in apartments together. Who was your roomie?
Mandisa. It’s a two-bedroom. I was roomed with Mandisa with double beds and Kat and Kellie were across the hall.

Was it slumber-party fun, or sorority house from hell?
It was definitely a lot of fun. Everyone gets along really, really well. Just thank God they didn’t put me and Kellie together. We’re both such slobs.

What was up with Kevin Covais’ big Simon diss on Tuesday?
I know! We were all so shocked. When we heard that we were like, Whoa. We were not expecting that one from him.

Simon said Tuesday night was your best performance, but the judges weren’t always so kind. You feel they were fair with you?
With the comments they make it’s hard to not let them eat away at you. The week Simon told me I was going home I let that eat at me for the next two days. It’s just real tough. But they have their opinions.

You’ve said you want to go to school for music education. Is that what you will pursue now, or do you want a recording deal?
This show has opened my eyes and made me realize it is possible to have a recording career. It’s not just a dream; It can be achieved. I’m going to try to go the music way with it, put down some original songs, and try to do the recording option.

So what now?
I head back to Tampa tomorrow. I’m ready to go lay out on the beach and relax. It will be the first time in seven months when I don’t have to worry about American Idol at all. I can’t wait.

Episode Recaps

American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

  • TV Show
  • 16
  • 574
  • ABC