It’s no wonder Kristy Lee Cook managed to keep a smile on her face, even though she ended up in the "bottom three" week after week. It turns out the Idol finalist has been hiding a happy little secret — she got engaged more than a month ago!
Her new fiance, Andy Dobner, proposed to her on a national TV show last night, but today she revealed that he popped the question privately on March 15, three days before she got her first taste of the bottom three.
But it is not easy to keep a secret when you’re one of the stars of the biggest TV show in the country. And Kristy Lee told us that it’s so hard to get a private moment that Andy had to propose to her in a sauna!
Today Kristy, who has finished seventh, told reporters about her wedding plans, and how she got her own back on Simon Cowell.
Even though she has been in danger of getting the boot four out of the last six weeks,
Kristy, from Selma, Ore., said it was shock to be voted out of the contest on Wednesday night.
The former horse-trainer thought she had "at least one more week" in her, and said that she was frustrated that judge Simon, who rarely had a good word to say about her performances, always seemed to think she was on her way out of the door.
The 24-year-old thinks he lost faith in her because she had suffered bronchitis early on and then struggled to hit her stride when the after-effects lingered.
But, she says, "I think I outlasted what he thought [would be her time to leave] because I started getting stronger towards the end and I was getting in the comfort zone.
"I was starting to come out of the shell and sing the songs that I’m comfortable with."
Kristy Lee said that she tried to block out some of his more stinging disses, but she certainly took some of his advice to heart — and Simon probably wishes she hadn’t!
Way back at the auditions, after the judges told a nervous Kristy Lee she would be going through to Hollywood Week, Simon told her she was too shy and needed to get a little more confidence.
He’d live to regret that remark! When Kristy Lee gave her final performance on Wednesday after being eliminated, she sat on the edge of his table and fixed her eyes on his through the entire first verse.
Just as planned, the British tough-guy looked terrified! He had something to say about it after the show, too.
"He said, ‘Well, you made it awkward for me!’ " says Kristy Lee. "I said, ‘Well now you know what it’s like for us to be in front of you all the time,’ and he just started laughing.
"It was kind of funny!"
But Kristy Lee said that now it’s over and done with, she’d still invite the judges, even Simon, to her upcoming wedding.
Kristy Lee met her fiance, Andy, at Rosso’s, the deli in Grant’s Pass, Ore., where she worked for two years before going on Idol.
Before the contest they had had marriage on their minds enough to go to a local jeweler and pick out a ring (marquee-cut with "quite a few diamonds on it," apparently). But it was only when Kristy Lee made it into the finals that Andy made his move — twice!
They got engaged in secret on March 15, and then during last night’s taping of the Idol Extra show — to be aired tonight on the Fox Reality Channel — just hours after Kristy was kicked off the show.
"The first time, it’s hard to get away without having to go with bodyguards and stuff, so he kind of came over and hung out at the apartment, and he said, ‘Let’s go talk.’ So he looked around for a place to talk and pretty much everywhere we went there’s people around. So we went into the wait room and we were walking around there, and there was the sauna," she said.
"The sauna was turned off, but the light was on, so we decided to go in there and just talk — and he proposed to me in the sauna and he actually proposed to me last night on live television.
"It was really cool!"
Kristy Lee says that she wanted to keep the news under wraps so that she could concentrate on Idol, but now she is on her way back home next week, and they’re thinking about setting a date in June next year.
So no matter what happens with Kristy Lee’s music career, there’s a least one big upcoming performance.
"I’ve always wanted to sing at my own wedding, since I was little," she says. "I don’t know why — I’ve always had this thing about walking out there singing!
"I don’t know if that will happen or not, but I definitely would sing a number at my wedding."