<p><span></span>After delivering a roaring rendition of Mariah Carey's <em>Hero</em> on Thursday's results show, Karen Rodriguez, 21, prayed that <em>American Idol</em> judges Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez would use their save vote to rescue her from elimination. They didn't, but now Karen tells<em> Life & Style </em>that J.Lo wanted to save her, which makes the experience all worthwhile. "Jennifer said I was perfect," Karen says in this interview with<em> Life & Style</em>. "If it had been all on her, she would've saved me, she told me." </p>
What was your childhood like?
My parents are Hispanic and came to this country to find opportunities. It started rough and still is. They can't really work and receive help from the government. Mom sacrificed so much for me to make me look beautiful when I was performing. But my voice has taken me to so many places, and I know I'll be able to give it all back one day.
What did the judges say to you after the show?
Jennifer said I was perfect. She said she was a fan and rooting for me. If it had been all on her, she would've saved me, she told me. But I know everything happens for a reason, and if it was my time to go there'll be other things in the future. Steven and Randy told me I'll go so far, this is just the beginning. That was so good.
<p><strong>What did it mean to you having Jennifer in your corner?</strong><br />
It felt so great. I felt the love from her and that she really understood me, as I know she's gone through all this before. We identified so much, and I heard she saw herself in me [because she had] struggled to get to where she's at now. I always felt safe whenever Jennifer was around. She was genuine, and it felt great. My idol is Selena, and Jennifer played Selena, so I've been following her for so long. Singing to her every week was incredible.
What's the one piece of advice Jennifer gave you that you will use?
She told me not to be scared and just go out there and give it my all. Sing from my heart and that will translate. As an artist, you can't be scared of taking chances - that's the one thing I'll remember the most.
What's next for you?
I can't wait to go home and reflect on everything that's happened. It's been a crazy few months, but I want to start writing and bettering myself as a musician and artist. I have to work on so many things, but this time off will help me better myself.
Next week on American Idol, the Top 11 finalists will sing classic Motown tunes, and the results show will welcome back former Idol alum Jennifer Hudson.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fox
Your life just got exponentially better and more stylish now you've signed up for our newsletter. Fabulousness awaits!