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Still, Laine — who many had predicted could win but was sent home Thursday — has come to terms with her untimely exit. Said the 18-year-old singer on a Friday media call: “Fifth place is good with me.”
“I really think I showed everything I could, you know?” she continued, matter-of-factly. “I showed ballads, I showed upbeat songs, I showed passion, I showed anger. I wouldn’t change a thing I did on the show.”
One thing Laine said she will never change is her musical direction and desire to deliver a pure country album in her post-Idol career.
“I’m not a pop-country singer,” explained the Mississippi teen. “I never will be. I need to sing the kind of country music I want to sing, and that comes out when I write.”
Like Carrie Underwood before her, Laine plans to move to Nashville after the Idol season-11 tour wraps this fall, thereby putting her in close proximity to her dream co-writing partners Miranda Lambert and Justin Moore.
“I pretty much have accepted the fact that if I get to make an album and have singles out, they are probably only to be played on country radio,” she said. “I am fine with (that) because I want to make real country music — honky-tonk songs and the good old country stuff. That is what is going to make me happy.”
Laine captivated audiences with her energetic stage presence, winning the hearts of judges, too. On Wednesday, Jennifer Lopez gushed over her rip-roaring performance of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.”
“Even if I was singing a ballad, I felt an adrenaline rush,” she told THR, promising to bring that same fire to the summer tour. “I don’t want to have to sing pop. I just want to sing country music and hopefully get to do some of my songs.”
However, show mentor Jimmy Iovine felt both her Wednesday-night performances — particularly, her Broadway/Vegas presentation of Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” — dashed her chances of making it to the finale. When asked about Iovine’s criticism, Laine said the Interscope boss is entitled to his opinion (even though she sort of disagrees).
Laine also defended Jessica Sanchez’s wardrobe choice, specifically her tight white dress for “Proud Mary,” another point of contention with Iovine.
“I loved her dress,” said Laine. “Jessica’s got a body to die for. She’s stick-thin. Don’t we all want to be that way?”
Laine said she would especially miss her good friend, Joshua Ledet, and roommate, Hollie Cavanagh, whom she liked to wake up with duck calls. She said she wasn’t surprised in the least that it was her, not the perpetual bottom-dweller Cavanagh, who was sent packing this week.
“I got a gut feeling, and told Hollie, ‘I think you’re about to be surprised,’” Laine said. Afterwards, she recalled telling Cavanagh, “I told you so.”
As for the future, Laine is optimistic. Underwood, former Idol winner-turned-mainstream music success story, was quoted saying the country community is ready to welcome Laine with “open arms,” and even tweeted Laine last night, writing: “Now hurry up and get to Nashville!”
Laine is also proud that she went out the way she came in: full of fight and “Gunpowder and Lead.”
“I wanted to go out with a bang and I think I did a good job with it,” she said.
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