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The Quick Rap with … ‘Idol’ Castoffs

American Idol eliminations are never easy, but last Thursday marked a teary-eyed round for the young contenders. While the first two eliminees, Jason Yeager and Alexandrea Lushington kept their cool, the news of Lushington’s departure left fellow contestant David Archuleta sobbing on the sidelines. Equally emotional was Alaina Whitaker, who turned her back to the camera as she started to cry. Amidst the emotional bunch was a solemn Robbie Carrico, who ended the show on an upbeat note with his reprise of Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded.”

The castoffs were anything but tight-lipped when we talked to them after the show, chatting about everything from dating Britney Spears to their American Idol idols.

[IMG:R]Robbie Carrico, 26, Melbourne, Florida
On dating pop princess
Britney Spears:
“I haven’t spoken to her in many years… We were friends on tour; that was pretty much the gist of it. It wasn’t that big of a deal. We went on a couple of dates, but that was pretty much it… She was always a down-to-earth girl. She is a really good girl. A lot of people are saying stuff about her and I really wish people would just let her be. I wish her the best in the future. I think everything will work out fine.”

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On not being a rocker, but not a hardcore rocker:
I don’t really see myself as a heavy hard-rocker. With my band back home I do stuff like Shine Down…”Fly From The Inside” would probably be one of the hardest. We even do stuff from Rob Thomas and Three Doors Down and kind of mellow stuff. I didn’t come into this trying to come out as a real heavy rocker, so that makes me wonder about their opinion that I wasn’t a rocker because I didn’t come out so hardcore and edgy. I have many different styles that I draw my influences from.”

[IMG:L]Alaina Whitaker, 16, Tulsa, Oklahoma
On deciding to sing, despite her tearful reaction to the elimination:
“I’m so glad. At the time I had so many thoughts going through my mind…I had a lot of emotions. At the time, I was saying I can’t sing right now, but I knew in the back of my mind I knew I had to do this, this is the end of my journey and this is going to be a good ending to it. The real factor was how–how am I going to remember my words right now and how am I going to make it sound good when I’m crying? I’m really glad. I think I would have regretted it if I hadn’t have sung.”

On her idols from Idol:
“I definitely loved Kelly [Clarkson] from the very first moment I saw her. I remember a specific performance from her: “Stuff Like That There.” It is weird that I remember all this, but I seriously remember sitting in my living room and she just blew me away and I loved that performance from her. I also loved, from a few seasons back, Chris Daughtry… At our Top 24 party I met Ace Young, I met Justin Guarini, which was great. I loved him too, and John Peter Lewis. At our hotel where we were staying, Chris Daughtry was in the lobby, so I got to shake his hand and stuff. That was awesome.”

[IMG:R]Jason Yeager, 28, Grand Prairie, Texas
On his first time auditioning for American Idol:
“I auditioned the second season just coming off of [a] pop group thinking that surely… I had seen the first season of the show–I thought I might not be the best singer in the world but I have a pretty good shot of getting through to semifinals. I invested so much, I dropped out of college–again–to go and do that audition and they shot me down the very first preliminary round before I even got to Simon and Paula and Randy. This year I was about to turn 28, I had kind of given up on everything. I had lost my show in Branson that I was starring in back there, so I was just waiting tables and I just wanted to give it one last go around and now I made Top 20 on American Idol. It was a great experience. Hopefully something on this level–even though I didn’t win I still think I’m a winner and I still think that something great is going to come out of it.”

On his 10-year-old son’s reaction to the elimination:
“He called me right after I got off the stage. He was the first person I talked to and he was just kind of quiet. He didn’t know what to say… He was probably feeling the same things I was feeling and just didn’t know what to say. He just said, ‘I love you, dad. I’m proud of you.’ So that meant a lot to me.”

[IMG:L]Alexandrea Lushington, 17, Douglasville, Georgia
On the kind of album she would like to record:
“In the future I would like to have my own band and hopefully record a soul/pop/rock type of album within the means of Nick Acosta and Alicia Keyes and John Mayer. I would like to venture into that nice live sound, like real musicianship.”

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On how she met David Archuleta, the contestant who cried when she was eliminated:
“It was so funny because we were getting picked up from the airport [when we arrived in Los Angeles for the show] and he was sitting next to us, and my dad said, ‘Hey, isn’t that the kid who was on Star Search with you?’ We were on the shuttle from the airport together and from then on we had just become really close. We are really good friends and his dad and my dad would always talk, because we were always together. Because we were both minors, we were always in school. We ate lunch with each other; we ate breakfast with each other. Our dads would hang out and talk with each other all the time. We would joke that our dads were like Laurel and Hardy.”

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