Erika Van Pelt on American Idol Elimination: Totally Shafted!

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The day after Erika Van Pelt was eliminated from American Idol, she was relatively calm, expressing excitement over this summer's tour and saying she expected to be in the bottom three.

But the first member of the top 10 to be sent packing took a few days to ponder the results of last Thursday and took a different yesterday in an interview with People.

"I definitely felt a little shafted by their decision not to save me," Van Pelt admitted, referring to the judges' veto power. "It's one of those things that, in hindsight, I'm looking at it like they didn't want to use their save this early."

A year ago, Steven, Randy and J. Lo saved Casey Abrams at the same point in the competition, leaving them helpless weeks later when Pia Toscano was shockingly sent home.

Van Pelt believes those results impacted this season's thinking.

"I was not expecting to be the first of the top 10 to go home – certainly. I'm not sure they were expecting it either. But I feel like even if they felt like I didn't deserve to go home, they just didn't want to waste that save in case America decided to do something really crazy."

Look back to last week and vote below: did Erika deserve to be eliminated?

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American Idol Quotes

Brooke White's tears come from the authentic, good soul that she is. Her heart was breaking because she was overwhelmed with the experience she had with the show and the gift that it brought.

Paula Abdul [after Brooke White was eliminated on season seven]

I read some of this online this morning and just for the record, the rumors — they’re not true. She’s part of our family and we love her.

Ryan Seacrest [on rumor of Paula Abdul being drunk on the show]