Stephanie Sokol for The Pit
After making it to the top 13, contestant Kristen O’Connor was eliminated from American Idol XIII Thursday night, February 27, after her performance of “Beautiful Disaster.”
O’Connor, 24, said she chose that song, which was performed by 2002 winner Kelly Clarkson in the first season of Idol, to show off her range. She considers vocal depth her biggest strength musically.
Despite her talent, however, O’Connor said she wasn’t surprised about the elimination, after being chosen as Wild Card the week before.
“Even though I had a good performance, I didn’t think it was going to be the one that would win over America,” O’Connor said. “So when they didn’t call my name, I wasn’t shocked, I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed because I think I do have what it takes.”
Last week, Kristen had what she described as her “best moment” on the show, when she performed “Turning Tables.” But as a proud perfectionist, sometimes Kristen said she focused more on the negatives. Despite compliments from the judges, she constantly focused on where she could improve.
“One of my weaknesses I have picked up on is that I’m definitely my biggest critic,” O’Connor said. “Sometimes the judges would praise me, but they would say one little negative thing, and that would be the thing that I would latch onto.”
O’Connor brought her skills from studying music in college as well as singing in choir, and grew further as a a musician, during her time at Idol Bootcamp, where she worked with alumni Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert.
Though she tried music in college, O’Connor had to pay her way through school, and switched to nursing as a way to support, giving back to others while still having time to pursue her passion of singing.
“I feel like I’m doing something important and it’s something I feel good about doing,” O’Connor said. I enjoy helping people. I decided to do that because it would be a good back-up and somethign I’d be proud of doing if music doesn’t work out but there was never a question in my mind that music is what i wanted to do, and its what im going to continue to do.”
Even though Kristen’s American Idol experience has ended, she said she’s not done with music. The singer will be going into the studio to release her first album, with a pop-r&b album soon. Beyond that, she said the future is open to where her songs take her.
“It’ll definitely be an original sound for me, but I see myself as kind of R&B pop soulful singer. I love really soulful, sultry music, but with a pop side to it.”
While the experience was full of excitement, one of the hardest things O’Connor said she had to leave behind was the close bond she had with the cast. Despite elimination, however, the experience brought life lessons for the singer.
“Something Jennifer Lopez said to me and something I gathered throughout the whole competition would be that it’s so important to be yourself and stick to what you know– to be authentic, because that’s when you shine,” O’Connor said.
American Idol Airs on Fox Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7 Central.
To keep up with Kristen’s post-Idol adventures, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @IMKristinO, or like her Facebook Page.