Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Megan Joy knows not everyone was a fan of her quirky style of singing and dancing on American Idol, and the day after her exit, the Sandy, Utah, native had a message for all the haters. “If you didn’t get me, I probably wouldn’t get you, so we’re even,” Joy told PEOPLE with a laugh.

Sensing that she would be sent packing, Joy, 23, ensured that her last night on the Idol stage was a memorable one. She told judge Simon Cowell she didn’t care that he hadn’t liked her performance the previous night, and she flapped and cawed like a bird as she made her way to her Bottom 3 seat. “If I’m gonna go out, I was ready to go out with a bang,” she said of her antics. “It was good TV, and I’m here to entertain.”

She claimed there were no hard feelings over Cowell’s announcement that the judges would not even consider using the Judges’ Save option on her. After the show ended, Cowell joined Joy onstage and the two kissed and made up. “He gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek,” Joy reported. “We both laughed, and he was like, ‘Let’s get this awkwardness over with.’ “

She also received a message of support from two high-profile fans, Joel Madden and Nicole Richie, whom she’d met recently while out at dinner. “We’d actually exchanged numbers, and I got a really nice text from them that said I did great,” Joy said. “It made me feel really good.”

During her relatively brief Idol run, Joy was the source of much behind-the-scenes intrigue. There was her bout with the flu that left her hooked up to an IV until a mere 30 minutes before her Country Week performance, and her brother’s heckling of Kara DioGuardi after the new judge criticized Joy’s performance this week. There were even rumors of a budding romance between Joy and fellow contestant Matt Giraud, though Joy insists there’s no truth in that. “Not at all,” said the recently divorced single mother. “We’re just friends. He has a girlfriend, and I have no interest in dating right now.” The two have, however, forged a tight bond, she says, over “just being lonely, you know, and wanting to laugh.”

Joy’s looking forward to returning home next week to spend time with her 2-year-old son Ryder, whom she talked to on the phone every day but hasn’t seen in two months. She also plans to commemorate the Idol experience by adding to her extensive tattoo collection: “I have a lucky ring that I’ve worn since the beginning of the show of a heart and inside the heart is a bird with a banner that says, ‘Fly lightly.’ It’s kind of like my favorite saying, and I’m gonna get it tattooed big on my ribs.”

Beyond that, she’s looking forward to trying her hand at writing music and finding out what the future holds. “A part of me is very sad to be done with Idol,” she said. “I’m probably gonna cry a lot when when I have a moment. But it’s good tears too. It’s not over for me.” — Shawna Malcom

Tell us: Were you a fan of Megan Joy? Do you think she has potential to become a recording artist?

Michael Becker/FOX