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Still, the fourth-place finisher has no regrets about the performance that did her in.
“I love that song. It’s so beautiful and I’m glad I got to perform it. I definitely felt that song,” Cavanagh, 19, said Friday on a media teleconference. “It didn’t come across the way Jimmy wanted it to. That’s fine. I re-watched it and I do agree there were parts I could have expanded more. But I stand by it.”
Cavanagh, the Britain-born singer from Texas, hung in there all the way to the final four — even after America sent her to the bottom three six times (!!!) this season. Cavanagh said she felt her fans recognized her tenacity, and that those votes were what kept her in the competition so long.
“I took it in a positive way to keep fighting,” she said. “They had my back and got me through each week.”
Although many viewers believe Jennifer Lopez was especially hard Cavanagh, she had a different perspective.
“She has been rooting for me and had my back since last year and always believed in me,” she said.
Cavanagh confessed Billy Joel Week was her toughest round, since she’d never heard the pop legend’s “Honesty” before performing it.
“Sometimes we did wish we could sing (more) songs that are on the radio now because a lot of teenagers watch. It would have been nice to have a mixture of both,” she told THR, acknowledging that older tunes are a necessary part of the competition.
She did get to go mainstream during Brit-Pop Week, although the Leona Lewis ballad “Bleeding Love” wasn’t her first choice.
“I was going to do a Spice Girls song to change it up, but I stuck to Leona,” she said.
Looking back on her Idol journey, Cavanagh said she turned a corner several weeks ago with Adele’s “Rolling in Deep” and Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.”
The moment she took the most pride in? Performing Miley Cyrus‘ “The Climb.”
“(That) was my first standing ovation on the show,” she recalled.
Cavanagh is looking forward to the season-11 summer tour, and hopes to duet with Ledet, who she called the lead prankster in the contestants’ house. (Phillip Phillips, watch your back. Cavanagh said Ledet had plans to buy a bunny and unleash it in the Idol rocker’s bedroom.)
As for her album, Cavanagh plans to make a pop record.
“I would like my album to be on the pop side with a little bit of soul. I would like to make music that is on the top of the charts right now,” she said.
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