Sanjaya Malakar is keeping his options open.

One day after being booted from American Idol, the high-profile 17-year-old said he hopes for a well-rounded career in entertainment.

Speaking in an April 19 teleconference, the native of Federal Way, Washington said he tried to keep his morale high in the face of the judges' incessant criticism.

"It was a little hard but I try to make everything into a positive and try to learn from it. I feel like I've grown," he said. " I'm more confident because I've had this experience...I'm ready to go out there and do it some more."

Malakar, whose varied hairstyles and savvy song choices made him this season's most visible competitor, remains in the spotlight. He'll appear on the April 23 edition of the morning talk show Live with Regis and Kelly, along with returning for Idols May 23 finale. He will also tour with the other 10 finalists.

Long-term plans include entering Boston's Berklee College of Music...and possibly hiring a bodyguard to deal with his new-found stardom.