Eliminated American Idol contestant, Paige Miles spent a lot of time discussing the difficulty of choosing a song when spoke with reporters today during the American Idol conference call. Also, it turns out she had been experiencing vocal problems for 3 weeks prior to elimination–an unfortunate situation that influenced her song choices (and not in good way). Paige was really hurt that she wasn’t given the opportunity to sing for her life. Hearing her talk about it made me re-think my belief that eliminating her upfront was the kind thing to do.
See also: Entertainment Weekly’s interview with Paige HERE.
On being told she wouldn’t be saved before she had a chance to sing—did it hurt? “Yes, it did. I initially thought the save was something that, even if they’re not going to use it, you get the opportunity to at least sing for it, and then they make their decision. But for the statement to be made before I open my mouth—I was pretty bummed.”
How much power over the voting audience does Paige believe the judges have? “The judges obviously have a certain amount of power over the voting public, but it also comes down to the performer delivering a good, solid performance. Tuesday night definitely wasn’t my best and they ripped me for it. It can go both ways. Sometimes they’ll back up the person the judges ripped apart if they feel that person really delivered, but you never really know how America is going to vote.”
Did the contestants ever discuss how to please the judges? “The best thing to do, really, is to just do yourself, and do what makes you most comfortable. Because, you know the judges can give mixed messages.”
When did her laryngitis begin? How has it been? “It was bad last night, it wasn’t as bad as it is now. Of course, I’ve been struggling with laryngitis for over 3 weeks now. I have swollen vocal chords, and there’s a lot of inflammation, and with this singing and rehearsing this much as we do, I had very little time for it to heal. It would get a little bit better, I would sing again and it would get worse again. It’s tough when you’re in a singing competition and you haven’t a voice so, that was a bummer. That affected my song choices because I would stay away from what I would typically do like big belty tunes like “Alright Now”, which I love and am super-comfortable at. I would shy away and try to do something smaller in efforts to not overtax my cords or do something where I could possibly damage them.”
How did she get through last night with laryngitis? “I got it together and just let it rip.”
Were the judges and the media too harsh on everybody this season? “Some of the things they say I agree with and totally understand where they are coming from, but in some ways, the context of it can be a little hurtful. Sometimes we think they could rephrase it or say it in a better way , cause it does come across as pretty harsh.”
Did she know that “Against All Odds” has been done many times on Idol? “Actually I hadn’t realized how many times it had been done. I was in rehearsals last week and was just trying to find a slower song that I wouldn’t have to stress vocally too much over, because my vocal cords were pretty much trashed I didn’t want to do anything too uptempo and crazy, just trying to take care of my vocal cords if I were to keep going. I probably should have just did something I was super-comfortable with like “Alright Now” and just gone for it. You live and you learn. But, I was trying to make a decision for me and my health.”
What’s the process that goes into the song choice? “It’s actually quite difficult. The judges make it sound more easy than it really is. It has to meet certain criteria and we have to choose, and we can’t usually do the same artist. It’s way more difficult than people realize. It’s tough.”
Do the judges help? “No they don’t. I wish they knew more about the process that we go through to pick a song.”
What did she mean when she told Ryan that she “got lost in the song?” “Vocally, when I’m not 100 percent with my vocals, it was tough to find my way around it, trying to be in a range where I’m usually not comfortable because my total range wasn’t there. Just finding my place in the song, finding the meat in the song where I could really sink my teeth into it. I could never really grasp it. Even in rehearsals, I was never really able to grab it—in large part…dealing with the laryngitis, which is tough.”
What are the criteria involved when you are trying to choose songs? “A lot goes into it. We have to think about what the audience and fans will like, making sure you are going to do what the judges are looking for you to do. That I think always is very very tough and sometimes not work. And trying to be true to yourself as an artist and finding someone else’s material to make your own, and hopefully not get compared to them. That’s something you always run the risk of. “That’s great, but the original did it better.” (laugh). Usually it’s not like we’re trying to outdo the original. We’re just trying to showcase ourselves, and show what we’ve got . It’s tough making a decision with a song. Sometimes you do a good job, and sometimes it doesn’t work.”
Would it be helpful, especially in the early rounds, if the judges actually suggested a song? “I think that would be a cool little twist to the process of picking songs. That is a really hard process and a really hard part of the show. That’s kinda where we get nailed at, more than anything.”
On Kara going nuts during her final performance, “They were all kind of going nuts at the table. They were bummed that I was going–I don’t know if it was that, because they didn’t have the option to save. They exercised their decision before I even performed. They thought it was a fantastic performance, they thought I did a great job, but that was a little too late.”
Did she think her lack of screen time hurt her, “Early on, a lot of the kids were able to build a fan base, as I wasn’t able to, but what you do up there on the stage really sets the tone. If I would have delivered the way I know I could have, maybe I would still be around. Yes and No.
What was her favorite part about being on American Idol? “Being able to perform on a stage and sing. That’s what I love to do. I would have done it in a jeans and t shirt or a pretty white dress. I just love to sing.”
Who was she close to? “Katie, Lacey and Siobhan”
On Simon telling her Top 24 week that she had the best vocals of the girls, “I thought it was a pretty awesome comment. I was happy he said it. A lot of people didn’t know anything about me, they hadn’t heard me at all, not in the city, not in the Hollywood rounds. It was nice to hear him say that.”
What she planned to sing next week, It was a tossup between ‘Don’t Leave me This Way’ and ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain.’”
On Miley Cyrus as Idol Mentor: “I feel Miley did a great job, actually. She’s got tons of experience in the business as far as touring, making albums, doing things that a lot of us in the competition are trying to do. In that aspect, she was a pretty good pick for that. I’m 24, so I’m older than her, but talking with her, her age didn’t come across at all. I was just speaking to her as someone who has experience, doing exactly what I would like to do. She was great.”
How much time did she get to spend with Miley Cyrus when she was mentoring? “I’m not really sure. We got to run our songs with her, and talk to her about it. I’m not sure of the exact amount of time, because we all met as a group first, and talked and then had separate rehearsals. We dedicated a morning to it.”
Are the producers doing anything to prevent people from getting sick? “They’re doing as much as they can. It’s just exhaustion met with any kind of sickness just makes it that much harder to fight off and keep away.”
What kind of artist is she? “I know who I am as an artist. I know what I like to sing. My problem finding the material that I felt fit best, and that I could also work with the laryngitis. As an artist, I like rock/pop soul. I like to rock out with a lot of soul/ R&B twists to it. I like uptempo music . When my health started failing me, I started trying to take it slower. That really didn’t work for me.”
Should she have pushed harder? “Yeah, but I was concerned, as well as the doctor, of doing some permanent damage, because the inflammation on my vocal cords was so enormous. There was a possibility of doing permanent damage. I really did have to kinda take it easy. Unfortunately it was just really really bad timing, awful timing. I wish I could have done more to show the way I ended last night, to have performances like that week to week. Song choice, all of that plays a big part into it.
Will she go back to Houston to teach? “The Pre-school is every day. The afterschool is after the kids get done with school from 2:30 to 6:30 with elementary aged kids. I love working with kids. I’ve worked with kids for years. I won’t be going back to it right away. I want to continue trying to pursue my dreams.”
Did her kids vote for her? “I have very little time to communicate with anybody, it’s hard for me to communicate with my family. But, I would get emails, they would send me cards that they made, and packages , bags and treats and things like that, and little inspirational pictures that they colored, and coloring books. I know they supported me 100%.”
On her love of coloring in coloring books, “We would do it in class and it was kind of a way to calm down the room. Idol is very high stress, a lot of tension and anxiety. People usually can’t find a way to get the nerves down, so you just open up a coloring book and start coloring, and you end up being focused on what you’re doing. It’s just a way to relax. Some people do yoga, some people meditate—I just like to whip out a box of crayons and color. It’s cheesy, I know (laughs). I can’t draw to save my life, so I can color, I can stay in the lines.”
Which artists does she admire? “What makes an artist great and individual is kind of molded itself, and formed its own shape, which makes them stand out. I really admire Christina Aguilera. She’s a beautiful woman and she has an amazing voice. She’s followed her own drum, which I also really like. She doesn’t put out an album every year. She takes her time and she makes artwork out of her albums. I really admire that about her.”
What are her plans going forward, “I would definitely like to continue pursuing music, to consider following my dreams and see what happens. Idol is a big learning experience and is a major platform. I would just like to continue growing and learning as an artist, and see where it takes me.”
What’s next for Paige? “To continue moving forward with my singing—I love to perform. This is obviously something I want to make a career out of, so definitely to just continue to move forward and possibly move out here to LA.”