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Making dreams come true: Idaho teen talks ‘American Idol’ journey, what’s next

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - 16-year-old Paige Anne stunned the nation with her powerful vocals on "American Idol."

After getting two "yeses" from judges Lionel and Luke during her audition, Paige sang her way through the next few rounds, before getting eliminated from the competition.

But that wasn't the end for the singer-songwriter — due to another contestant dropping out, Paige Anne was brought back into the expanded Top 26.

"I didn’t have that closure that a lot of people felt that they had," she said during an April 2023 interview with Local News 8. "I was like, there’s no way this is over, so I just kept preparing. So then when I got that call, it was like 'oh my gosh, this is what I’ve been waiting for and I’m ready.'" 

And ready she was. Her powerful rendition of Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" landed her in the Top 20.

"I felt like I had absolutely nothing to lose," she said of her performance. "That was where I felt my most confident in the entire show.

I was just so overwhelmed with gratitude. I've never been one to be crying on live television. But honestly, it made me realize that it's okay to get better in front of America's eyes and be vulnerable." 

Unfortunately, her "Idol" journey came to a close.

Despite getting cut again, she maintained her positivity and sense of humor.

"They brought me into the therapist and asked me how I felt about getting cut and I was like 'I don't know, I'm hungry! I'm just hungry and tired.'"

Now, she's continuing to do what she loves.

"The work doesn't stop when I get cut on American Idol," she said.

Through it all, Paige says the community support has been astounding.

"I still go in public and I have little girls asking me for my picture. Like the other day in Walmart, this girl started crying when she saw me and I was like, 'what did I do?' I was so caught off-guard! It's just been so cool feeling like a local celebrity, even though I feel like I haven't changed that much. It's just been such a fun experience and I wouldn't have changed it for the world."

So, what about the next season of American Idol?

“I would love to do it again… but also I don't want to ruin my amazing memories that I have now and try to compare and contrast and try to recreate it in some way. So honestly I’m hoping to just move to bigger, better things, release my music, just keep doing what I’m doing as a teenager… I don’t know, hope for the best.” 

Paige says she is saving up money to put out a new album and to go to Nashville to write music with her "Idol" friends.

You can catch her locally a few times this summer:

Tomorrow night, July 4th, she will be singing the National Anthem at the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration.

In August she'll be opening for Neal McCoy at the Bannock County Fair.

You can also follow her social media accounts @thepaigeanne for more updates on her performances.

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Emma Benson

Emma is a morning news anchor and multimedia journalist at Local News 8.


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