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Haley Reinhart was eliminated from American Idol last night.

To many, though, it was shocking that this singer even made it as far as the final three. Even she admitted, in a post-episode interview with journalists, that she struggled early on.

“I think I took a lot of risks in the beginning early on, when usually you do the opposite. Maybe America didn’t know how to take me. I started getting into my own little niche, the rock bluesy sultry feel, throughout and I think America finally started to catch on and they kept me around!”

Maddie Poppe Wins American Idol
Photo via ABC

The judges continued to be harsh on Haley, however. But it sounds like she understands why.

“I believe their intentions for it throughout this whole process was simply to push me along further. It was apparent they wanted to get me at the top of my game and get me a little fired up inside so that I come out with something they really didn’t expect… Most of the time that was fire. I would get angry, I would get aggravated and I would get it out on stage.

How did it feel when Ryan Seacrest said her name? Says Reinhart:

“You literally have seconds to think about it, so I took a second to think about it and then I said, ‘Alright, alright’ and I just kept saying it. And guess what, I have to sing a song in about five seconds. I wanted to have a good time with it and show America why they kept me there so long, give ’em a good show. I got offstage and I was at peace with everything, but I had the moment where I realized how much I was going to miss everybody.

“Everybody is such a great big family, that’s one of the most wonderful parts of this whole experience. To create bonds with everybody. I knew I’d miss them… All in all, I accepted it very quickly and took it all with a grain of salt and said, ‘Hey, everything happens for a reason and this is a good thing.’ This happened for a reason and it means I’m going to start my career as a solo artist even sooner.”

We wish her the very best of luck with it.