A year ago, Alexis Grace sounded crestfallen. Other people seem oddly cheerful when they're bounced from "American Idol," but not her: She had finished one short of the top 10 and the tour; her dreams had been dashed.
And today, Paige Miles seemed only mildly better off. A self-described cheerful person, she'd been wracked by laryngitis and had fallen just short of the top 10. Her speaking voice sounded awful; her emotions sounded marginally better. Here's the story I sent to papers.
By MIKE HUGHES
Her voice had crumbled, her tour plans
had faded, but Paige Miles was trying not to seem distraught.
The first step is to beat the problem
that destroyed her “American Idol” run. “I've been struggling
with laryngitis for three weeks …. There was a possibility of doing
permanent damage,” she said.
After that? Well, she said she loves
her job as a kindergarten and after-school teacher, “but I won't be
going back to it right away. I want to follow my dream.”
That would have been easier if she had
made it one more week, reaching the show's top 10, with a spot on the
“Idol” tour. Last year, that meant 52 shows before 484,000
She finished 11th, in a year
when illness was a problem for several people. “It's exhausting
work and that … makes it hard to fight off sickness,” Miles said.
Her best songs may be rockers “where
you really belt it,” but she began choosing softer songs to
preserve her voice. It was “Smile” one week, “Against All Odds”
Fighting the odds has been a factor for
Miles, whose father died when she was young. She grew up in Florida,
started singing in church at 5 and was in cheerleader competitions –
something she has in common with this week's “Idol” mentor, Miley
She moved to Houston four years ago,
when she transferred to a college there for its performing arts
program. “Houston has a great theater district,” she said. Later,
her mother also moved there.
At first, “Idol” gave her little
screen time. Then it showed Simon Cowell telling her: “You are
better than you even know …. You are a really, really good singer.”
Yes, Miles said, that was a surprise.
“I though it was a pretty awesome comment …. A lot of people
hadn't heard me before.”
They wouldn't hear her again, in full
form. The laryngitis hit and she started dialing back her songs.
After she was ousted Wednesday, she managed to “just get it
together and let it rip” for one final performance. By the next
morning, her voice was down to a quiet rasp.