American Idol's Jax Talks Bon Jovi, Beatles and 'Bang Bang' Covers, Her Brutal Exit and the Origin of Her 'X'

“I’ve never lived a life where I wasn’t taking risks,” says American Idol‘s recent third-place finisher Jax.

And indeed, that philosophy informed almost every performance the 19-year-old New Jersey native gave during her Season 14 run.

TVLine caught up with Jax at Fox HQ on Thursday afternoon to discuss where she cooked up her radical rearrangement of “You Give Love a Bad Name” (spoiler alert: she was hiding in a closet); what made her iTunes recording of “Beautiful Disaster” so special; why she ignored warnings not to cover Adam Sandler’s “Grow Old With You”; and which classic bass line from the B-52s informed her interpretation of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Press PLAY above for the full, freewheeling Q&A — which touches on her near-disaster in group rounds and addresses criticisms about her artistic authenticity — then hit the comments with your thoughts!