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Why ‘Voice’ Finalist Vicci Martinez Walked Away From ‘American Idol’

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

Vicci Martinez may have gone far on "The Voice" this year, but this wasn't her first attempt at reality-TV fame. She was on "Star Search" as a teenager in 2003, making it to the second round on that show. But more interestingly, a year before that, the Tacoma singer-songwriter auditioned for the very first season of "American Idol" and scored a golden ticket to Hollywood--but decided not to stay on the show, walking away from a chance to compete against (and possibly beat?) Kelly Clarkson on what was soon to become the biggest TV talent competition in the world.

Speaking on "The Voice" finale red carpet this Wednesday, Vicci talked frankly about this surprising decision. "I know I was only 16 then, but my instincts kicked in just reading the contract," she revealed.

She also said the interview questions asked of her by producers during her brief "Idol" run didn't sit well with her. "I was like, this is mean," she said. "Some of the stuff that they were asking me, that's not what music's about."

Vicci said her experience on "The Voice" has been completely different, however. "From the beginning, this show has not asked us to be competitive or anything. They just want us to continue to focus on ourselves and make sure that we keep our style and who we are."

Vicci seems to have no regrets about leaving "Idol" and waiting nine years after "Star Search," until she was an adult, to compete on national television again. "I finally got to be in front of millions of people and preach what I believe in," she said happily.

Do you think Vicci was wise to wait? And do you think she might have won "American Idol" if she'd continued on that show?

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