Didi Benami's journey came to an end on American Idol this week.
The 23-year-old won praise (albeit without a judges' save) from the show's panel on Wednesday night and moved many to tears on her road to stardom.
While she fell short, Didi Benami has a lot to be proud of, and despite disappointment, she's not feeling distraught, just looking forward to what's next.
Below are excerpts from an interview she did with USA Today ...
On the scrutiny she faced: "I was not prepared for that. I was not an avid American Idol watcher, so I didn't know what to expect. Honestly, I was just being myself, and I did stuff that meant something to me and had a good time."
On making the top 10: I'm relieved that I get to go on tour. I don't have to work as a waitress anymore. I get to do what I love. It's a blessing. It's a relief to know I'll be able to make a living doing what I love for the summer, hopefully longer."
On wearing her heart on her sleeve: "[Crying] has definitely been therapeutic for me, and I do it as a release. It's funny because the camera was always catching me when I'm emotional. And I'm not always that emotional."
On losing her way, or so Kara said: "I don't feel like I lost my way. I feel like they wanted me to do something specific every week ... and I went out on a limb several weeks and did different things. And they weren't expecting it."
On her moment with Siobhan Magnus after being ousted: "Siobhan is a unique, amazing person. I love her very much. She's a sweetheart. She ended up being my roommate the first week. I met her the first day of Hollywood Week."
On the judges' save that wasn't: "It was tough. The whole crowd was chanting, and that was pretty cool. Ultimately, I kind of felt like I was going home, but I thought it would be cool if they exercised the option to let me stay."
On her competition's reaction: "Crystal Bowersox and Siobhan and I are really close. Crystal came down and stayed with me last night. They're amazing, wonderful people. It's hard when you meet other artists you really connect with."