Eliminated 'American Idol' contestants describe experience, what's next

NEW YORK -- Ten contestants hit the American Idol stage Sunday night, singing a selection from the Disney songbook in hopes of winning America's votes as the iconic franchise went live around the country for the first time ever.

But only seven could move on, and audiences said goodbye to Ada Vox, Dennis Lorenzo and Michelle Sussett as the trio was eliminated from the Top 10.

After their final farewells, the three spoke out about their experiences and what's next in their respective quests for stardom.

Vox was one of the most talked-about singers, returning to perform in drag after competing as Adam Sanders in Season 12.

"I came into it with just a lot more life and entertainment experience, so I think it was much easier for me this time around because I knew what to expect," Vox said.

Sanders discussed his battle with depression and how he developed the larger than life persona of Ada Vox as he became more comfortable with himself. But he knew it wasn't an easy path to tread bringing it to the mainstream.

"I came in with the approach that I need to have a thick skin, I need to have something that makes me stand out, I need to let my talent out to the best of my ability and sing with my heart every single week," Vox said. "I get just as much hate -- I get so much more, actually, than I got before -- simply for the fact that I am in drag on the show representing what I'm representing. But the fact of the matter is that I've come into this with a thicker skin than ever before, and I am so glad that I was given this platform to go ahead and start the real work now, because the real competition starts after the show is over."

Vox had referred to the alter-ego as a safety blanket on the show, which led some to speculate he may perform as Adam at some point.

"I considered performing as Adam, but you know, all in all, what I think it is, is that Adam auditioned for this show 12 times," Vox said. "Ada's auditioned once, and Ada is in the Top 10. Adam is who I am all the time, Ada is simply my stage persona. It's just Adam with a bunch of makeup and hair...So I'm always me no matter how I am presented. But you know, Ada is the star. She's the spotlight. And that's just that little bit of something that pushes me over the edge."

And speaking of makeup and hair, Vox was known for her spectacular costumes, including a solid gold dress with a fierce Mufasa mane for her performance of "Circle of Life" from The Lion King.

"I was the lioness queen of the world," Vox said.

Sussett, meanwhile, was hailed by Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan as a pop star in the making. Her high energy performances were a trademark dating back to her audition, when she got the judges on their feet dancing. She slowed it down and sang "Remember Me" from Coco, following their advice to embrace her heritage, particularly when it came to singing bilingually.

"Being on American Idol meant, for me, everything," she said. "I was hoping to win, of course, but I'm just so blessed and happy that I got to be on the show."

She used the platform to highlight the plight of immigrants, especially in the current political climate. The Venezuelan native has been in the United States for four years and wanted to use the opportunity to shine a spotlight on those who travel to America in search of a better life.

"My original song, 'I'm a Dreamer,' I had so, so, so much feedback from people telling me how inspired they felt," she said. "That's something that I definitely want to live for and just keep on inspiring people...to keep on following their dreams, work hard and never give up."

Lorenzo tackled "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," also from The Lion King, a song that carried significant emotional weight for him. He was reunited with his young daughter a few days before the performance, and he also related to the Simba-Mufasa storyline after his father was murdered when he was a child.

"I just had to embrace it, and one thing during all of my rehearsals with the vocal coaches, with (guest mentor) Idina (Menzel), even the judges, they needed me to understand that this was the time to embrace all of those feelings at once, to embrace all of those emotions," he said. "So that's exactly what I did. I went on stage and I put every second that I spent with my daughter at Disneyland into that performance. I spent every moment that I think about my dad. Even being homeless, and thinking about us making it this far."

Lorenzo said he laid it all on the line, which is why he won't let the results phase him.

"I was very, very proud of the performance," he said. "It was the time of a lifetime. I had a great time up there, and I knew that there was a possibility that I wouldn't go through, so I walked on stage understanding that. Which is why I wasn't too let down with the results."

So what's next for these three now that the competition is over for them? Watch the full interview in the video player above to see what they've got planned moving forward.

American Idol airs LIVE on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET | 5 p.m. PT on ABC.
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