Lisa, the latest to get the boot on ''American Idol,'' explains to EW's Jessica Shaw why she sang ''Because of You,'' why Paris was bawling, and more
Credit: American Idol: Ray Mickshaw/Fox

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the smartest idea to sing a smash hit by the most successful American Idol winner ever. Sixteen-year-old Lisa Tucker learned that lesson the hard way when she got sent packing after her rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s ”Because of You” fell flat this week. Not that you’ll hear this perennially cheery high school senior singing any sob songs about it. Entertainment Weekly chatted with Lisa about what went wrong.

EW: Were you nervous about Kelly Clarkson comparisons when you chose to sing ”Because of You”?
LISA TUCKER: I definitely thought of that, but I didn’t want to keep ”what if”-ing myself because I think I would have gone insane. I knew what I was doing. I wanted a big, belty song. I thought of all the risks, but I thought, I’m just going to go for it. I just wanted to go out there and sing it.

How on earth did you smile through finding out you got the boot?
I promised myself I wasn’t going to hang my head low. I was really so proud of everything I had accomplished, so I was honestly prepared for anything that was going to come.

Did it get any easier being called to the middle of the stage in the bottom three on your third time around?
No — every time they call your name your stomach drops a little bit.

Did you get to talk to the judges after the show?
Yeah, they came up on stage afterwards. Randy and Paula were saying I’ve got a long career ahead of me. Simon said I have one of the best voices on the show and he sees me as one of the people who is going to have a strong career. That meant a lot, because he didn’t have to say that.

What did you think of his criticism that you were acting too old for your age?
I get that people think I’m older than I am, but that’s just how I always am. When I’m out with my friends I’m like that too. I get that a lot, that I’m an old soul.

Simon was pretty harsh on you at times these past few weeks. How did you stand up there without bursting into tears?
It’s not worth it. That’s the way I look at it. This is just a person like me, like anyone. Everyone has their own opinion. There could be someone sitting at home thinking, Oh, she’s horrible. It’s a little different because someone is saying it to your face on national TV, but I can take it or leave it, and he’s just a person.

I hear the whole gang goes out to dinner on Wednesday nights. What happened there?
Yeah… It’s turned into this really nice dinner we all have. Everyone goes around and says something nice about you. And then afterwards we all went back to our apartments and me and Paris hung out and talked.

Paris was weeping like someone just died when your name was called. What was up with that?
We’re like sisters. We had school together [because both are under 18] and stuff. You really, really make a strong relationship with all the people on the show. They’re all like brothers and sisters.

Next page: Lisa on song choice, going to Idol high, and her stint on Star Search

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American Idol

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

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