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<i>American Idol</i>: We Whisper Goodbye to a Raspy Paige Miles

While we never got to know her as well as the others, American Idol contestant Paige Miles was moderately successful with rockin' numbers like "All Right Now," which became more difficult when she developed laryngitis and couldn't really belt them out like she used to. (She's not the first one to come down with it, either.) So while "Honky Tonk Woman" was at least an attempt at being fun and raucous, "Against All Odds" was weak and spotty, and she was voted off just shy of making the Top 10. We sat in on a conference call where she talked about her illness, the song choice process and how to deal with contradictory judges.

A lot of people felt that Miley Cyrus was too young to be a mentor. How did you feel she did?
Paige Miles:
I felt Miley did a great job, actually. She has 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, so you know in that aspect she was pretty good. 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 else with experience, doing exactly what I would like to do, so she was great.

Your voice sounds a lot worse today. When did this start? Did it get worse at certain points?
Paige:
I've been struggling with laryngitis for over three weeks now. I have swollen vocal cords, and there's a lot of inflammation, and with us singing and rehearsing as much as we do, I had very little time for it to heal. So, it would basically get a little bit better, then I would have to sing again, and it would get worse again. So it's tough when you're in a singing competition and you have no voice, so that was a bummer. And, that affected my song choice at times, because I would kind of stay away from what I would typically do, big tunes like "All Right Now," which I love and I'm super comfortable at, and I would kind of shy away and try to do something smaller in efforts to not overtax my cords or do something where I could possibly damage them.

You chose a song, "Against All Odds," that has been done a lot in the past on Idol. I was wondering if you'd realized how many times it's been sung, and if that had any effect on your decision to sing it?
Paige:
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, and I didn't want to do anything too up-tempo and crazy. I was just trying to really take care of my vocal cords if I were to keep going, but I probably should have just picked something I was super-comfortable with, which is something like "All Right Now" and just gone for it. But you live and you learn, and I was trying to make a decision for me and my health.

Do you feel like you should have pushed harder, voice be damned later on?
Paige:
Yes, 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, so I really did have to kind of take it easy, and unfortunately it was just really, really bad timing, awful timing. I wish I could have done more to show -- like the way I ended last night -- with high performances like that week to week, but a good song choice and all of that plays a big part into it.

Do you mind describing for us the process that goes into the song choice.
Paige:
Yes. It's actually quite difficult. The judges make it sound more easy than it really is. It has to meet certain criteria, and we can't usually do the same artists, so it's way more difficult than people realize picking a song, so it's tough.

And do the judges ever have any input in it or no?
Paige:
No, they don't. Actually I wish they knew more about the process that we go through to pick a song.

We know now that the next week is R&B and Soul Week. Did you already have your song picked out?
Paige:
It was a tossup between "Don't Leave Me This Way" and "I Can't Stand the Rain" by Tina Turner.

Well, there was a lot of talk about the judges being too harsh on you, but I'm wondering if you think the judges are being too harsh on everybody this season?
Paige:
Yes. You know, some of the things they say I agree with, and I totally understand where they're coming from, but in some ways the context of it can be a little hurtful. Sometimes, we think they could rephrase it or just say it in a better way because it does come across as pretty harsh, so yes.

How much power over the voting audience do you believe the judges have?
Paige:
Obviously they 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. So, it really can go both ways because sometimes they'll back up the person that the judges ripped apart if they feel that that person really delivered, but you never really know how America is going to vote.

Did you and any of your fellow contestants discuss how to please the judges? What they expect?
Paige:
Yes. The best thing to do really is to just do yourself and do what makes you most comfortable, because the judges can give mixed messages.

Discuss Paige's departure in our forums, then see which judge vloggers Val and Beth think is the new "mean judge" in TV is the Answer!

Is Simon deliberately sabotaging Idol?

Watch TWoP's editors explain why this may be Idol's worst season ever in this segment airing on the New York Nonstop cable news channel:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video.

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