In an interview after the result show, the tenth place finisher admits that she believes her age plays a part in the voting, and explains why she brought maracas to the bottom three.
Erika Van Pelt surprised many when she debuted her drastic makeover during the performance night of "American Idol" on Wednesday, March 21. After she got the boot from the competition the next night, the aspiring singer admitted that the thoughts that the new look contributed to her elimination did cross her mind.
"Of course it entered my thoughts," the 26-year-old said when speaking to Entertainment Weekly. "People always talk, period, end of story. If you gain weight, if you lose weight, if you dye your hair, if you cut your hair, if you, I don't know, grow something on your face - everyone talks about everything. It's just the world we live in. I wasn't letting it affect me at all."
"I did what I wanted to do because I wanted to do it. I got a suggestion to cut it from Tommy Hilfiger - obviously a huge success. The man knows what he's talking about; he's been around the block. The dyeing it dark thing was my idea, certainly. But I wanted to come out of my shell a little bit. But I did, and now I'm going to have it short and kind of funky for tour."
Asked if she also thought her age was also a factor, the tenth place finisher said, "Absolutely. And I know I have fans that are teenagers. Even, like, pre-teens. I have fans in elementary school. But yes, unfortunately I do think it has a bit to do with the amount of votes that I was getting from the specific American Idol demographic."
"I feel like a lot of people that would listen to the music that I would put out would be my age, 20s, 30s, even like 40s and 50s," she continued on explaining. "I don't want to put an age bracket on my material. I want everyone to listen to it and enjoy it. But I do think that [voting age issue] is a small part of it."
After admitting that she's "still reeling a little bit", Van Pelt went on to explain why she brought maracas to the bottom three stools. "I needed to have a little fun," she noted. "Those stools are horrible, and I was getting terribly uncomfortable being there every week. I had a sinking feeling like I would be there again. I just said I want to be myself, and I'm going to bring a little party to the bottom three."
On what the judges told her after the show, the singer from South Kingstown, Rhode Island spilled, "Steven made a joke: 'Now you get to do what I do!' I was like, 'What?' 'Go on tour, man!' So that's cool, to hear that from Steven Tyler! The man's done so many tours, and he knows how fun and what hard work it can be. That was nice to hear from him."