The end is really the beginning.
In fact, the two will immediately appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” this evening. This will begin a regular schedule, with the contestants who are eliminated on Thursday night appearing with Jay the following Friday.
Showing as much grace and spunk as they did in their “Idol” runs, both Thia and Naima were composed, hopeful and unapologetic about getting voted off, though each admitted being able to take part in this summer’s tour softened the blow.
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Thia. “I guess I was feeling a mix of emotions. I wanted this so bad, but everybody else is just so incredible, you have to prepare yourself for whatever happens. With all the exposure we’ve gotten, knowing that millions of people voted for you, it’s such wicked flattery. I know I’ve grown so much during this experience as a singer, an artist and a person. I felt a bit devastated, but I didn’t cry for more than 15 minutes. I kept telling myself things happen for a reason. I’m very excited for the future.”
“I’m going to miss the shopping,” joked Naima. “When you get to do the accessories and shoes… creating my own style. I get such a big kick out of that, especially when I could find a bargain and stretch the budget. That was my release time.”
The pair responded to the observation that the overwhelmingly young female “Idol” demo tends to vote for the guys over the girls, which suggests there should be separate categories for the genders until the two finalists.
“The reality is that more than 50% of the audience is made up of teenage girls, and once they get a crush, we’re done,” she said. “They dominate, but that’s alright. We’re a pretty confident bunch.”
There were no regrets for either of the two, even after being eliminated from the competition.
“The last performance I dedicated to my big brother, and I poured all the emotion I had inside of me into that song,” said Thia. “I didn’t want to come off as just a ballad singer. I just hope America will realize I can do so much more.”
“I just wanted to show every piece of me in my performances,” said Naima about her controversial reggae version of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” “I’m really about staying true to myself, and once I have my brain set on something, I just kind of go after it. I did what I did. I’m happy that I was able to show that side of me. I think people just didn’t know how to categorize me.”
Next Wednesday, the Top 9 finalists will perform songs associated with members in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, accompanied by rock guitarist Jeff Beck, with Pia Toscano already hinting she’ll do Ike and Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.”
Season Four “Idol” finalist and Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis will perform on Thursday night’s results show, when the contestants will be whittled down to an Elite Eight.