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Published: Thursday, 3/19/2009

Booted 'American Idol' candidate apologizes to Tennessee

Alexis Grace disappointed the judges on Tuesday s Grand Ole Opry-themed performance show with a subdued rendition of Dolly Parton s 'Jolene.' Alexis Grace disappointed the judges on Tuesday s Grand Ole Opry-themed performance show with a subdued rendition of Dolly Parton s 'Jolene.'

LOS ANGELES American Idol contestant Alexis Grace said her elimination during the show s country music week seems like a betrayal of her Southern roots.

I feel kind of like I let my state down. I m from the South and we re supposed to do country well. And I think I actually sing country pretty good. So it was a disappointment, Grace said the day after being voted off the show.

But the single mother from Memphis, Tenn., told a teleconference that she s going to try to redeem herself as she pursues her dream of a singing career.

Grace, 21, received the lowest number of audience votes after her performance on Tuesday s Grand Ole Opry-themed show of Dolly Parton s Jolene. Judge Kara DioGuardi told Grace she d lost her edge.

The sweet-faced blonde had been told by the judges at the outset to dirty it up advice Grace said was appreciated and helped her develop her artistry and an edgy quality she on which she hadn t drawn.

The four judges declined Wednesday to rescue her with their one-time-only opportunity to save a singer from being eliminated, an option until the top five finalists are selected.

She was heartened that the panel considered keeping her, but figured timing might be an issue, Grace said.

It is early in the game and it wouldn t be good for TV if they did so early. So in the back of my mind I was like, maybe not. Maybe they want to save it. It just wasn t the right time, she said.

Her American Idol experience taught her, if you want to do anything in life, if you want to pursue a dream, you ve got to work hard at it and believe in yourself. ... All the cliche things you can say, it s really true.

Her immediate plans: Return home and spend time with her family and the daughter she so missed, Grace said. Then she ll get to work building her career and trying for a record deal.

Asked what kind of album she might release, Grace suggested it might be Joss Stone mixed with Carrie Underwood with Sheryl Crow.

She s disappointed she just missed making the cut for the Idol concert tour, which is limited to the top 10 finalists, Grace said.

The remaining contestants will perform Motown songs next week, with Smokey Robinson and second-season Idol winner Ruben Studdard set to take part, along with Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr.

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