'American Idol': Ashley Rodriguez, Janell Wheeler both happy for the experience

ashley-rodriguez-janell-wheeler.jpgAshley Rodriguez and Janell Wheeler were the first two female Idols sent home in season 9. They are both beautiful girls who faltered a bit in the first week and couldn't get the votes to stay.

So did they enjoy their "American Idol" journey and take good things away from it? It sounds like they had a great time.

Ashley Rodriguez

On what she has taken from her experience:
"American Idol" has really shown me that now more than ever I have to fight for what I want. It's given me a little taste of the dream and I'm willing to work hard for it.

On her most memorable "Idol" moments:

The Top 24 photo shoot was a blast. We walked into this big L.A. shoot and it was just super-glamorous and just really exciting ... That's definitely probably one of my favorite moments. Also getting to work with Rickey Minor and the band, those are just two great moments that I'm going to take away from this experience.

On her fans:
The fans that I've gained form doing the show have been so wonderful from the beginning. I've seen a few of the messages since being eliminated and they're so supportive and so loving. I hope that in the near future I'm gonna have an awesome album for them and they'll stay fans for a long time ... I would just like to say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who's supported me and who's really just made this journey so incredible for me. America will get to see me again, that's for sure.

On the judges:
I think a lot of people thought that may be they would be a little more lenient considering this was our first live show, but it turns out they were coming in throwing punches. We definitely could've used a little bit of love from them, that's for sure. They were quick to give a lot of criticism and not back it up by anything positive, which is unfortunate ... there's always something good you can find in a performance and they didn't really hit on that ... but I love them all, they've all played such a huge role in this experience for me.

Janell Wheeler

On her most memorable moment:
My most memorable moment would have to be elimination night for sure ... I'm so proud of myself in the way that I [ went out]. I kept it together, I sang my song better than I sang it the first time and I'm really happy with how it went. If I had to go out, I'm glad I went out that way.

On what the judges were looking for:
I think I knew exactly what they wanted from me, I just was choosing to do it the second week. The first rehearsal of [ What About Love] was a lot more country ... but I switched it back to the rocker version. It definitely pumped me up and helped me perform better. I should've gone ahead and brought the guitar out and performed a Top 40 hit like "American Boy," which I definitely was planning on doing next week.

On Ellen DeGeneres as a judge:
I love Ellen. I don't think it's a secret, I've told the press millions of times, I watch her show religiously. To me, I thought she was so refreshing. She represents the American public, the people who actually go out and buy the albums ... She really knows music and she's so diverse in her knowledge. I think people need to give her a lot of credit, she did a bang-up job on her first episode.

On her elimination:
I am a very hopeful person but that day for some reason I just had this feeling inside of me, I couldn't really explain it. I even called my parents and I was like, "Be prepared, I don't have a good feeling about today." I don't think I was particularly the worst and I definitely was not the best, so I was in that dangerous zone, that in-between, because people tend to think that you're safe. People think you'll squeeze by. People didn't know how much they had to vote, people were just trying to save those people they thought were in danger. Because I didn't really shine or get really bad feedback, I unfortunately just got lost in the mix.

On her fans:
I just want everyone to know that I am just so thankful to be here and I have no hard feelings for anyone. I am so supportive of everyone else who is in the cast. I'm just so blessed and honored and I truly think that I'm going to go on and be part of this family for a long time. I'm really, really, really happy to have represented America, even if it was just for one week.

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