Here is Katelyn Epperling’s conference call exit interview from Friday, March 12, 2010:

A lot of people thought that the judges were particularly hard on you during the show and they weren’t very forgiving. Do you feel like the judges were too hard on you?

“They were critical of me. I’m not sure if it’s because I have been performing for so long and they expected more out of me than what I was giving them. Or maybe it was that I wasn’t living up to their expectations week by week.”

What was your most memorable moment on the show?

“Probably playing the Scientist with the white piano. I was definitely in my element. Playing without a band. That had to be my best personal moment.”

It seemed like the contestants were really close this season. Who were you closest to?

“Lily and I were best friends throughout. We were roommates and we hung out all the time. I was ironic that we got eliminated on the same show.”

Did you adapt to the judges comments about varying your performances from week-to-week?

“I definitely was trying to find a song that would portray me as a serious singer/songwriter which is difficult in this competition. But I don’t regret singing the songs I did perform.”

What are you planning to do moving forward?

“Go back to Des Moines (Iowa) and record with a band called Love Jug. I’m gonna get together with them and do what I love to do.”

You had a moment after you were elminated when you turned and hugged Lily and you were sobbing.

“Lily, Crystal and I have gotten real close. I don’t have any girlfriends and it was unique for all three of us to become friends. We were supportive of one another. For me this isn’t over. I wasn’t upset about being elimnated. I was upset about leaving them. But I must say it was a pretty big disappointment for me to see Lily go home. Cause if I were to be home watching this show, she would be by far over all the other girls. She wouldn’t be going home.”

Were you tempted to do the piano again this week?

“Yes, I would have liked to have brought out the piano again.”

The Scientist, what inspired you to do that song?

“It’s a song that comes to my mind when I think of any sort of loss. I went through a lot of things this summer, it’s sad but hopeful and it fit for me. The song just cries and I wanted to portray that.”

Who are you really rooting for now?

“Honestly, Crystal Bowersox has been true and good throughout. I’ll be pulling for her all the way.”

What surprised you most on the show?

“I didn’t expect to get along with everyone so well. I thought it would be a bunch of divas walking around. And there is so much going on. You don’t realize it until you get there how much work it takes to put on an Idol show. Amazing how you walk down the street and people call out your name. It’s just surreal.”

Are you glad that American Idol moved forward and allowed contestants to play an instrument?

“Yes, I think it’s very important. It’s a talent competition, not just singing. It’s more than rolling out of bed one day and having an OK voice and a pretty face.”

What would you like to say to everybody who was a fan of yours on the show?

“I want to thank all the fans and supporters of mine among the 30 million viewers and I hope they enjoyed my music. I made it through three weeks of the Top 24 and that’s incredible in itself and it wouldn’t have happened if people hadn’t supported me.”

Would you prefer it if you had been able to sing your original songs and do you think the show would be better if you could sing original songs?

“That’s a tough one. People would excel in that. But at the same time it’s really hard cause original songs are about your personal experiences and I think it would be really hard for me to get up in front of four people and convey my personal experiences. Like what I was going through during a hard time, would they get that? But it would be a cool thing to bring to the show.”