Rhode Island’s American Idol Finalist Erika Van Pelt

Tim Staskiewicz, CBS Radio Boston

New England had it’s own in the American Idol top 12 – at least for a little while. Erika Van Pelt from South Kingstown, Rhode Island was the 10th place finalist in Season 11 of Idol. She explained to Mix’s Erin O’Malley what happened after she was eliminated earlier this season.

“We get a little bit of a break, obviously I was eliminated a little bit earlier on than some of the other kids, ” said Van Pelt. “So I got about 6 weeks at home to sorta just hang and check in with the family and get myself mentally prepped for finale and the tour this summer.”

Erika sat down with Erin O’Malley and Mix 104.1 backstage at the American Idol finale in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, and she took the opportunity to clarify her comments about Jennifer Lopez after her elimination. While she was quoted saying her comments were a tough pill to swallow.

“I know a couple press journalists took some liberties with you know, what I said,” explained Van Pelt. “[They] said I was slamming her. Obviously not the case at all. I was just disagreeing with her criticism.”

Her return home has brought a few new challenges with being well-known. When asked how she felt about having her hair appointment broadcast over local radio, Erika laughed it off.

“I made the mistake of tweeting it, that I was going to get my hair done,” she said. “I didn’t say I was going from black to blonde. Immediately I got a call from the local news station,” to bring a camera crew down to watch her transformation.

Look for Erika Van Pelt on the American Idol tour this Summer. Watch the full interview with Erika backstage in the video below.

American Idol week is building to its biggest season finale ever! FOX Tuesday – the final two battle it out for your vote, on a special night! Then, be there Wednesday as we reveal who will become the next American Idol…live! Who do you love, America? The two-night finale begins Tuesday, May 22nd at 8pm only on FOX 25.

More from Erin O'Malley

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