‘American Idol’ has broken several records during its current 12th season. Not only has the hit FOX singing competition made headlines for the fighting between new judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, but the sole remaining original judge, Randy Jackson, also recently announced that he won’t be returning for next year’s 13th season. The current season is also the first one in which all of one gender’s finalist were eliminated before any of the opposite gender’s finalist, making it the first season to have an all-female Top 5.
Last Thursday night, Angie Miller was the eighth contestant to be eliminated from Season 12’s Top 10 finalists, after singing three songs-Jimmy Iovine’s Choice, ‘Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word’ by Elton John; the Judges’ Choice, ‘Try,’ by Pink; and the Producers’ Choice, ‘Maybe,’ by Emeli Sandé. Miller’s elimination leaves Candice Glover and Kree Harrison to compete in tonight’s performance round of the season’s finale.
Miller generously took the time recently to participate in a press conference call to talk about her elimination from ‘American Idol.’ Among other things, the singer-songwriter discussed how she felt like she won just by making it to the Top 3 contestants of the season; how she feels blessed to have been on a season with Jackson; and how the Top 5 girls became close and supportive of each other.
Question (Q): Do you feel that winning ‘American Idol’ would have brought you a better chance of having a successful career, or could being eliminated be even better for you?
Angie Miller (AM): I feel like in a way that I’ve already won; the top three is amazing. The exposure I’ve had on the show and the journey has been incredible. I really wouldn’t change a thing, and I’m proud of how far I’ve gotten.
Q: Can you describe what those first few moments were like back stage after the results?
AM: I t was just a feeling of “Wow, okay. This really happened. I’m off the show. This is what it feels like.” It’s like, well, that just happened, time to just move on and start thinking about the future. I didn’t want to dwell on how sad I was, but I think that first initial thought was, “Okay, I just got voted off. What’s next? What’s the future going to hold?” That was the first thought I had.
Q: If you could pick one judge to come on board next year who has never been on the show, who would it be?
AM: Oh gosh, that’s such a hard question-there are so many people. I think I said in another interview before that I think it would be so cool if a former ‘American Idol’ contestant came on the show as a judge.
Q: What do you think ‘American Idol’ is going to be missing by not having Randy Jackson there next year?
AM: Well, he’s been a huge part of the show. I feel so blessed to have been on a year with him, to have been a part of his journey, and I’m grateful he was a part of mine. He was great for the show, and he’s been a supporter of mine since the beginning. It will definitely be weird without him though; he’s the only one who has been here forever.
Q: On the show, they often emphasized you playing the piano. Did that get frustrating for you, as that’s obviously that’s a skill you have, but it seemed so important to them?
AM: Honestly at first, it was upsetting because I feel like they thought I was only good when I was playing the piano. I was like, “I promise you I can be just as good off the piano.” I had to work and prove that to them, and I feel like in the end I did. I’m so glad I did that because I love being off piano just as much as I love being on it.
Q: Can you talk about coming back and singing on the finale? There have been reports that you and Adam Lambert could sing a duet. Could you speak about that?
AM: Well, that’s the great thing is that I’m not going anywhere; I’m still here. I’m going to start rehearsing and practicing for the finale right away, and I’m so excited. I don’t know 100 percent what will be going on yet, like what we’ll be singing, but I’m so excited just to sing again. I’ll be singing on the finale and I really can’t wait.
Q: Who do you think is going to be the most fun thing on the tour?
AM: Oh gosh that’s a hard question, everyone. We all get along and really are just family, so the tour is going to be a blast. We are going to have so much fun, and I can’t wait to meet all the fans and sing full length songs and not be judged. It’s going to be a blast.
Q: Did you ever see the summer ‘American Idol’ tour yourself for previous seasons?
AM: Last year was the first year I went, and that’s the first time I ever saw Colton Dixon do ‘Never Gone.’ I’m so glad I was able to do that on the show. That’s was an amazing thing, going to watch the live tour.
Q: What do you see in your immediate future after the tour?
AM: Well, there is the tour, and then I just hope to get signed and put out an album. I want to focus on my music and maybe even go on another tour as soon as possible, and eventually I want to do acting. I just want to do so much.
Q: Do you think you might try to arrange to sing the anthem at Fenway some day?
AM: Yes. I would love that. I would love to sing the National Anthem at Fenway. That would be amazing.
Q: After your trip home, you sang the Pink performance. As the judges said, you seemed so much more confident at that point. What about it that built your confidence at that moment?
AM: Well, I just remember being in Beverly, Massachusetts doing that concert with the thousands of people there. Being on that stage, I felt so free and so in the moment. I remember thinking, why don’t I feel like this on the ‘American Idol’ stage? I really feel like I just brought that feeling from that concert with me on ‘American Idol,’ and I feel like it showed and it paid off.
Q: Have you heard from people back in your home town since your elimination?
AM: I have heard from my hometown. I have an incredible amount of friends and family just texting me and calling me. I love Beverly. I’ve done all of this for my home town, I’m happy to have made it this far.
Q: Do you have a message for all of your fans in Beverly?
AM: I just want to say to everyone back home, thank you so much for supporting me and bringing me this far. I still can’t believe I’m a part of the top three, it’s incredible. I can’t wait to visit home again.
Q: Do you know when you are going home, or will you be going for the tour?
AM: I have no idea, but I am excited to go to the tour in Boston. I can’t wait for that show.
Q: On your Twitter account, you posted that your whole family has gotten a dream big tattoo. Can you talk about what their support has meant to you, and a little bit about the tattoo?
AM: Well, dream big is like a motto of mine; it has been for a long time now, and about a year ago, I got the tattoo of dream big. Throughout this whole competition, dream big has been such a huge part of it. My whole family surprised me by getting it tattooed as well to help support me.
I’ve even seen other places-I have other friends who have gotten it. Just the incredible amount of support that friends and family have given me through tattoos is the most random thing. But it means so much because it’s so permanent and it’s so real. I love my family and their support is amazing.
Q: So the home town packages they aired really seemed to focus on how much adversity Kree has seemed to overcome. Do you think that unfortunately played any role in the vote? If so, does it frustrate you in any way that given that it is a singing competition that maybe your elimination wasn’t entirely based on just talent?
AM: You know, I don’t really know about the whole voting. I know that one week people can be on top and they can be on the bottom. I don’t know if that so much swayed the voting, but I do know that it did not disappoint me at all. I love both of those girls, and they both deserve to be there. I would never ever be like, “Oh it’s a sob story;” that’s her life, and she’s real and she’s one of the most genuine girls that I know. I love her so much, so I didn’t even really think about that honestly.
Q: You clearly seemed shocked by your elimination. It seems like you had been expecting to end up in the final two. Was that actually the case, and could you talk a little bit about where all those tears were coming from?
AM: Well, every Thursday night is always shocking. It’s always an emotional and crazy night, but I did feel confident in my performances. I was hoping and dreaming to be a part of that finale, and I really wanted it, so of course it was shocking. I wanted it so badly, so it was definitely shocking. But even though it’s the end of ‘American Idol,’ this is just the start. This is the beginning, and now I can start planning my future, so it’s exciting at the same time.
Q: What was going through your mind as you watched the recap video of your time on ‘American Idol’ and as you tried to sing that final song? What were the thoughts that were going through your mind?
AM: I still can’t believe that in the huge arena of thousands of people, I was one of those people who heard, “Welcome back to ‘American Idol,’ and I started the show off. It’s incredible that way back then, what seems like years ago, that I dreamed of being a part of the top three and being able to sing at the finale. It’s incredible to see this whole journey and how it’s all happened, and I’m still here. I’m part of the top three and I’m going to be singing on the finale is incredible. It’s an amazing journey.
Q: Was there one thing in particular that you could walk away from this experience and say you’ve really learned from?
AM: I’ve learned and grown so much through this competition. I know who I am musically and as an artist. I know what I like and don’t like and what I should sing about. I’ve learned so much about myself and how to deal with things and to remain true to yourself throughout everything that flows around you. This show was an incredible growing process.
Q: You say you know yourself much better as an artist now. Can you give us a hint of what kind of music you’d like to make? There was some indication that you might go in to the Christian music world. Is that your plan, or would you prefer to like go in a more pop direction?
AM: It’s neither of those really. I’m not going to the Christian or genres. I want to have music that has meaning and is real. I don’t want to have dance party music, but at the same time, I don’t want to put people to sleep, so I definitely want to incorporate piano and the soulful piano sound with a lot of edge. I love rock. If it’s a fast song it’s more rock as opposed to pop, but I don’t know. I know the message that I want to send out and I know the sounds that I want to do and I can’t wait to show it to people.
Q: Did you want to do more original songs this season?
AM: I definitely thought about it and wanted to. I have more that I want to share, and I’m excited to in a future album, but the show isn’t over. You still have to watch the finale.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the two girls who are left, Candice and Kree?
AM: I love talking about them. With the Top 5 girls, we just all got so close. Kree and Candice are both so incredibly talented and deserve to be where they are.
Kree and I have been roommates since the top 20, and we’re so close. I can’t imagine going through this competition without her. We’ve been supporting each other so much and it’s weird waking up in the morning without here there anymore. She’s like not my roommate anymore so that’s like strange, but I love her. Kree really is like a mom. I wake up in the morning sometimes and she’s like, “Do you want breakfast? What do you want?” I’m just like, “Kree—”. She’s so nice and she never thinks about herself.
With Candice, we’re gotten so close. She’s just the funniest person to be around. I wish America really like could just sit in a room and talk with her for like five minutes because they’d understand how hysterical she is. I feel so blessed to have made it this far with these two girls in the top three.
Q: Did you three of you amongst yourselves have any predictions of who the final two were going to be?
AM: Oh no, we don’t want to get our heads all wrapped up in who is going to get voted off. We just relaxed Wednesday night. We were like whatever happens, happens. We all love each other, no matter what.
Q: A lot of viewers interpreted the judges’ Wednesday night comments to be that Candice was basically a shoe in for the finale, and Kree and yourself would be competing for the other spot. Did you also feel that way after the show?
AM: Yeah. I mean Candice killed it, she did amazing. I knew that she was going to be in the finale. So I think it was between me and Kree, which was terrible because she’s like my best friend in the competition. But I really am so proud of them for making it.
Q: What was it like to do the background vocals with the three of you and Mariah?
AM: I can’t believe that I was in a position where Mariah Carey was coaching me. I really can’t believe that she was able to give me tips in the studio. I never thought that would happen in a million years.
Q: You sang a lot of Jessie J songs. Is she one of your biggest musical influences, and would you love to do a duet with her?
AM: Jessie J is definitely a huge musical impression of mine. Like I was saying earlier, I love the soulful sound with the edge to it, and lots of her songs have that. They’re such soulful beautiful songs. They have this certain amount of edge and grit to it that I love, and so she’s definitely a huge musical influence. I would absolutely love to do a duet with her one day; that would just be amazing.
Q: You mentioned Jessie J and Colton. Colton tweeted at you on your elimination night. Have you corresponded with Jessie at all?
AM: When I did her song ‘Who You Are’ on the show, she did tweet me. She said, “I’m so incredibly proud,” so that was awesome. I would love to get in touch with her-that would be amazing.
Q: What’s it one of the best pieces of advice you got from the judges?
AM: What really sticks out to me is that they didn’t just appreciate my voice or just me, but they appreciated the artistry and the songwriting and knowing that I know who I am as a person. I love how they really appreciated that. They stressed that it’s important to never lose your songwriting and who you are and what you stand for. I think that’s what stuck out with me the most. It wasn’t really a critique but it was just them saying, “Thank you for being that way, keep being that way,” and that meant the world to me.
Q: What your favorite moment on ‘American Idol?’
AM: My favorite moment ever on ‘American Idol’ is still way back in Hollywood Week, when I was able to do my original song, ‘You Set Me Free.’ I feel like that was the moment that it really started for me, and I was able to show America right away who I was as an artist and a songwriter. That’s when I was just like, “Wow. Maybe I really do have a chance of making it far in American Idol.”
Q: Jimmy had suggested that you should have played the piano for your rendition of ‘Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word’ Wednesday night, and that you could have had a “moment” with that if you had. Do you think maybe you needed that moment to get in to the finale, or do you see that perspective at all?
AM: No I don’t think so. I don’t think I needed to play piano for it. He still said that I was the favorite of that round, so it’s kind of confusing. He said I was the favorite of that round, but then he says, “Oh she should have played piano.” I don’t think it would have made that much of a difference.
Plus I didn’t know that song well enough to play it. I probably would have screwed it up on piano, so I didn’t want to play it and be too concerned about it.
Q: Randy uses the phrase, “putting a little church in to the song,” a lot. Did that influence you that you put church in to your music, and is it different from the way that Candice puts church in to her music?
AM: I definitely feel like it because I don’t have the gospel power house voice, which I think Randy is talking about a lot of time when he says, “Church.” I just don’t have that. I think for me it’s less the church sound and more the meaning.
I’ve done Colton Dixon ‘Never Gone’ and ‘Love Came Down’ by Kari Jobe. Those are worship songs, but they’re not in your face like Jesus songs. They’re subtle and that’s what I want to do. I just want through actions and meaning and words being able to show that subtlety.
Q: One other related thing about how you grew up—your parents preach in Salem, Massachusetts, and you live near Salem. Did any of the city’s history of religion and American history affect you as you were growing up?
AM: No, it doesn’t affect me at all. If anything, I’m so proud of where I’ve come from, and I love my parents. They’re the best and they’re so supportive, and they just recently started the remix church this past September. I’m so proud to be a pastor’s kid and I love them, and I can’t wait to go visit because I haven’t been there in a long time.
Q: Do you have any final words that you’d like to say to your fans?
AM: Thank you all so much, and I really am so blessed to be a part of the top three. It really blows my mind. I can’t wait to sing at the finale on that stage, and for the tour and to see what happens with my future. I know that this is just a start. It’s a launching pad, and just thank you to everyone who supported me and voted for me. It means the world.
Written by: Karen Benardello