Haley Reinhart, Ryan Seacrest, American Idol

Michael Becker / FOX

Haley Reinhart put on a brave face during her American Idol elimination last night, but what happened next? Did the third-place finisher melt into tears backstage?

We just got the scoop from Haley herself, who told us about her reactions last night, how she feels now—and whether she blames her lack of votes on the judges' tough critiques.

"You only have seconds to think about it," Haley told us about her elimination. "So I took seconds to think about it and then I said, All right, all right, it's OK, this it. And guess what—I have to sing a song in about five seconds, so let's move on to that and have a good time with it and show America why they kept me there so long."

Fan boards have been buzzing that Haley was upset over the decision, but according to the latest eliminee, she's completely at peace with how everything played out.

"I was never angry," she told us. "Of course everyone is going to be surprised by the verdict, but all along I accepted it very quickly and took it in, took it all with a grain of salt...Everything happens for a reason, and this is a good thing that happened. It only means I'm going to start my career as a solo artist even sooner."

Of course it's no secret Haley butted heads with the judges throughout the season over their tough critiques, but she doesn't blame them for her third-place finish.

"They really wanted to push my buttons and push me as far as I could possibly go to get whatever they wanted to get out of me...Most of the time it was fire that they wanted, so I would get all grrr and aggravated and try to take it out on the stage. It is what it is. Randy [Jackson] and them told me, 'It's all love,' and I understood."

To those who found Haley abrasive, she counters, "It's easy to get depicted in certain ways on the show...usually I'm joking around with all the camera guys—we're all cracking up together. I'm usually always bubbly. It's different to see what comes out in all reality. Also, you're on that stage, you gotta perform for the judges, and it's not like you get a one-on-one where you can talk and show everybody who you are and give them a little bit of that personality you have inside. It's really hard to get that out in a short minute and a half."

With the finale only a week away, it's tough to say who is going to be crowned American Idol, but Haley says both Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina are deserving of the title.

"They have a young audience out there, and they are both just so darn cute, and they've got the country calling for them. It's a country year and I'm excited to see what happens, but I can see Young America being very captivated by these two."

Who do you think will win American Idol? Will you buy a Haley Reinhart album? Were you surprised by her elimination? Let us know in the comments!

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