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'American Idol': Fallen Idol Syesha Mercado says good-bye

May 15, 2008 | 11:49 am

Syseshamercado "I'm like a black Christina Aguilera-slash-Alicia Keys," explained Syesha Mercado, without so much as a chuckle, during a conference call with the media this morning. It became clear over the course of the call that Syesha's unlikely success on "American Idol" was largely due to her vigorous self-confidence and unwavering work ethic. "People will know who I am," insisted the fallen Idol. 

Syesha was quick to attribute some of her strength to her father's battle with substance abuse. "The past has a lot to do with the type of person you are," she mused. "I'm gonna make him proud so that he wants to make me proud."  She said this statement more than once throughout the call, as if in gentle warning to her recovering father. "It's just a beautiful story to tell," Syesha later said, adding: "One day I'll tell it. In a book." 

But penning her memoirs is hardly the only thing on Syesha's mind. She also wants to act on Broadway, perhaps in "The Color Purple," star in a film, release an album, open an organic restaurant and more.  (Seriously, I couldn't type fast enough to keep up.)  Syesha rattled off this list with conviction, as though there was nothing remotely daunting about it. 

And it was that whole-hearted faith in her own potential that shot Syesha, against all odds, into the Final Three. "I never packed my bags," she said simply. She didn't want to leave yet, she explained, so why would she pack her bags?

But Syesha's confidence finally faltered after her performance Tuesday. "I was like, 'It's over,'" she recalled. "I got too many bad comments from the judges to keep me there." And because Syesha rarely says anything negative or impolite, it was surprising to hear her question the producers' choice for her on Tuesday: a song from "Happy Feet." "I think my nieces and nephews liked it," Syesha remarked suggestively, adding "It's not like I could change it, so I had to try to make the best of it."  When a reporter remarked that it wasn't really a "singer's song," Syesha agreed.  "No," she said, "it really wasn’t."

But soon enough she was back to her sunny old self. And although Syesha Mercado's favorite subject seemed to be Syesha Mercado, when the conversation turned to the two Davids, David Cook and David Archuleta, she obliged.  "I feel like I'm a little sister and a big sister with both the Davids," she said.  When asked what the Davids said to her after she got booted Wednesday, however, Syesha maintained that she didn't remember. Then, she added: "It's not the end of the road. They were happy for me. Just letting me know they cared. Giving me hugs."

And as the interview drew to its necessary close, Syesha left us on a characteristically high note. "I'm just ready to take on the world!" she exclaimed. "I am so ready!"

-- Stephanie Lysaght

Photo courtesy of Fox