Just one week shy of the Season 12 American Idol finale, singer-songwriter Angie Miller was eliminated. The 18-year-old Massachusetts native, who often played the piano during her performances, was a clear frontrunner week after week, tackling songs by Jessie J, Beyoncé and fellow Idol alum Colton Dixon, among others. During Hollywood Week, she brazenly performed the self-penned track "You Set Me Free."
During a conference call Friday afternoon, Rolling Stone learned about her musical influences, her close relationship with finalist Kree Harrison and how she feels about falling short of the finals.
You seemed buoyed by your trip home to Beverly, Massachusetts on the show. What about your hometown visit built up your confidence?
I just remember being in Beverly doing that concert with thousands of people there and feeling so free and so in the moment. I thought, "Why don’t I feel like this on the American Idol stage?" So I brought that feeling from that concert to American Idol, and I feel like it showed and paid off.
It seemed like you were expecting to be in the final two. Were you shocked by your elimination?
Every Thursday is always shocking and emotional. But I did feel confident in my performances, and I was hoping to be part of the finale. I really wanted it, so of course it was shocking. But even though it’s the end of American Idol for me, it’s the start of my future, so it’s exciting at the same time.
The hometown packages that aired really focused on the adversity Kree had to overcome. Do you think that played a role in how people voted?
I don’t really know. I know that one week, people can be on top and the next they can be on the bottom. But I do know 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, that’s such a sob story." That’s her life, and she’s real. She’s one of the most genuine girls that I know. So, I didn’t even really think about that, honestly.
What makes Kree and Candice Glover so special to you?
Me and Kree have been roommates since top 20, and we’re so close. She’s like a mom. I wake up in the morning and she’s like, "What do you want for breakfast?" She’s so nice and so selfless. And Candice is the funnest person to be around. I wish all of America could sit in a room with her for five minutes to see how hysterical she is. They’re both so incredibly talented and deserve to be where they are. I love them.
Mentor Jimmy Iovine said you should have played the piano on your rendition of Elton John’s "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" the night before you got eliminated. Do you think choosing not to play the piano did you in?
No, I don’t think so. He still said I was the favorite of that round, so that was kinda confusing – that he said I was the favorite but I should have played the piano. I don’t think it would have made that much of a difference. Plus, I didn’t know that song well enough to have played it. I probably would have screwed it up.
Did you find it frustrating that the judges were always pushing you to play the piano?
Honestly, at first, it was upsetting because it seemed like they thought I was only good when I was playing the piano. And I was like, "I promise you I can be good off the piano." So I had to work and prove that to them, and I feel like I did in the end.
What do you think Idol will be missing next season with the departure of Randy Jackson?
He’s been a huge part of show, and I feel so blessed to have been on there with him and be part of his journey. It will definitely be weird without him; he’s the only one that’s been there forever.
Both your parents are pastors, and you grew up singing in church. Does that influence your music?
I’ve done Colton Dixon’s "Never Gone," I’ve done "Love Came Down" by Kari Jobe, and those are worship songs. But they’re not, like, in-your-face Jesus songs. They’re subtle. I don’t want to shove Jesus down people’s throats. I want to be able to show them, subtly.
Musically, are you looking to be more of a Christian or pop artist?
Neither of those, really. I want to make 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. [Laughs.] I definitely want to incorporate piano, and have a lot of edge. I love rock.
You’ll be back to sing on the finale next week, and there are rumors you’ll duet with either Idol alum Adam Lambert or your own personal idol Jessie J. Any truth to those rumors?
I don’t know 100% what’s going on yet. I would die if I were able to sing with Jessie J. That would be the most incredible thing ever, so I hope it happens.
What’s next for you?
There’s the American Idol tour, and I just hope to get signed and put out an album. Eventually I want to do acting . . . everything. I just want to do so much.