By Leah Greenblatt
Updated May 11, 2010 at 03:48 PM EDT
American Idol
Credit: Paul Hebert/Icon SMI/Corbis

Image Credit: Paul Hebert/Icon SMI/CorbisIn an extended new interview in Out magazine, Kimberly Locke, the third-place finisher on Idol‘s second season, talks about keeping former roommate Clay Aiken’s gay secret (“It wasn’t really a secret to me but it wasn’t really my place to push him in any direction”), her upcoming reality show Making the Curve (“It’s about putting together a plus-sized singing group, which I know my gay boys are going to love”), and working with Randy Jackson’s new “strictly dance” label, Dream Merchant 21 (“I don’t think I knew that Randy was so into dance music!”).

But she saves her sharpest words for her alma mater. On the widely panned current season: “I think that they’re going to have to go back to the raw talent. The other night, on the show, I think everybody except for two people, maybe, played the guitar. I don’t play an instrument. I love people who play instruments — I think it’s great — but American Idol is a singing competition and I think it distracts and it takes away. I think some of them are better musicians than they are singers — if you really want to know the truth about it. When I was on American Idol it was about raw talent; you had a microphone, a microphone stand, a spotlight, and a track. We didn’t even have a band on my season! So, I do think it’s still a great way to find talent. I think they just need to get back to the basics of singing.”

And, with refreshing honesty, on her own struggles as a contestant with the show’s advertorial side: “One of the things I didn’t like about Idol was the Ford commercials. It was like, ‘Come on.’ For a lack of a better word they would whore us out, we did all these commercials for free, they got to use our image and our names. But the thing that upset me the most about it is that it took up so much time in our day. We were already exhausted running around doing press, people pulling us in a thousand directions, now we’ve go to do Coke and Ford and all these different spots for the sponsors. Those things would take, like, an entire day. Some nights we wouldn’t get finished from doing just that until midnight. It’s like, ‘Really?’ And then they’re like, ‘Practice your song in your sleep.’ I was like, ‘Really? Come on.’ So, the Ford commercials were kind of annoying. And, we didn’t get a car. So, go figure.”

So, how do you like them apples? Or would you dub them sour grapes? For all that hustle, would it have hurt Idol to give the kids their own Ford Focus, or even a limited lease on a used Festiva?

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