The “American Idol” judges were tough on Paige Miles, especially when it came to song selection.
But in many cases the Naples-native really didn’t feel like she could choose the songs she wanted to sing on the popular competition show. If it wasn’t the restrictions the show’s producers put on her and her fellow contestants, it was her uncooperative body.
“I was making a lot decisions based on my voice,” she said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday, a day after she was eliminated from the contest. “I was trying to find something I could sing without doing anymore damage.”
During the 40-minute interview, Miles’ raspy voice barely raised above a whisper. She said that “Idol” doctors told her that she risked doing permanent damage to her vocal chords if she didn’t take it easy. But between rehearsals and performances, she never had time for her voice to completely heal.
“It would start to get better, but then I’d sing and it would get worse again,” she said.
Miles said she has been battling laryngitis for the past three weeks. Her much maligned song choices of “Smile” and “Against All Odds” were made, in part, to deal with the illness.
“I tried to choose songs that worked with my limited vocal range,” she said. “I really wanted to be out there belting out songs like ‘All Right Now.’”
Miles said she was disappointed that she didn’t even get the opportunity to prove she still belonged on the show on Wednesday night. Once the show makes it to its final 12 contestants the judges have the option of voting to save a contestant they think was wrongly voted off by the public. Usually, as in last week with Lacey Brown, the contestant voted out gets to sing for a chance to stay on the show. But judge Simon Cowell told Miles before she even started to do her final performance that the judges weren’t going to save her.
“I thought everyone got the opportunity to sing for it,” she said. “I was pretty bummed.”
One reporter noted that it seemed like judge Kara DioGuardi was upset when Miles did a strong version of “All Right Now” to end the show.
“They said I did a great job,” Miles said of the judges reaction to her final song.
If she had lasted just one more week, Miles would have been a member of the show’s summer tour, a fact the show played up and that Miles said was very much on all the competitors minds. She also said she could see that getting air time early in the show, which Miles didn’t get, helped other competitors.
“They definitely had more of a chance to build up a fan base,” she said. “But in the end, you have to go out there and perform.”
Before the competition, Miles was working for an after-school program for elementary students in Houston. She said, in a lot of ways, Houston fans offered her more support than Naples’ fans did.
But she said she plans on trying to stay in Los Angeles to pursue a career in music and didn’t plan to return to Houston or Naples permanently.
“I definitely want to continue pursuing a career in music,” she said. “‘Idol’ is a big learning experience. Now, I just want to see where it takes me.”