American Idol XIII, eliminated contestant, Emily Piriz, spoke with reporters on Friday in her exit interview. Here is what she had to say about her journey:
What’s the best piece of advice one of the judges gave her?
EP: “They’ve all given me great advice. Keith told me the other night to be confident and not to doubt myself. I think that’s something that I’m going to remember and keep with me.”
What kind of record would she like to make?
EP: “I see it–pop rock kind of vibe. I want some funky songs on there that have a little edge to them. I definitely want to be behind the piano and do a few softer songs. My first album is definitely going to be all me.”
What’s next for you?
EP: “I’m going back home. I’m going to finish high school and graduate. I’m planning to move out here to California and continue to pursue music.”
How do you feel about your experience on the show?
“I see it as the best experience of my life. No regrets at all. I’m happy with everything that I did. It was such a learning experience, and I was able to meet so many great people and make such great friends that I’ll keep forever. I’m really grateful to have had this experience.”
What song were you planning to sing next week for “Songs of the Cinema”? –
I was gonna do “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”
Which contestants did she bond with?
“I bonded with everyone. MK and I had a close bond because we were roommates. Jena and I had a great bond. I had a great bond with Sam, Alex, Dexter. All of us were so close. We all hung out together every night.”
It was a risky move to sing a song by one of the judges. Was there something you could have done differently?
“I’m not sure. Probably just–like Harry said–I needed to bring even more energy than I brought to the stage. I don’t regret doing that song. That song really means home to me. I was happy with my decision.”
What did Jennifer Lopez’s support mean to you,
“Her support meant everything. Since the first audition ever, she was a huge fan of mine, she told me I was a great singer the first time I ever sang for her. I used to be a little girl looking up to her. She was one of my idols. To have that support from her means everything.”
Would choosing a different song have changed the outcome?
“Ultimately, I’m happy. I wouldn’t have changed my song choice. I was going with my gut, with my heart. And, that was my number one song choice. Whether I would have done another song or this one, my fans still would have voted for me–my fans from day one.”
Are the girls worried that a “cute guy with a guitar” will win again?
“The girls might be getting worried. But it just gives us motivation to step it up.”
What kind of mentor is Randy Jackson? How much influence do the coaches have over song choices, etc,
“As far as song choice goes, it’s basically all on us. We have 3 choices and we sing it in front of Randy and some of the producers. They’ll tell us their thoughts, but ultimately the choice is up to us. On Monday, we have a rehearsal and Randy’s there and he watches us on the stage performing. He’ll tell us great things, things that we have to fix. He really helps us get prepared for the live shows on Wednesdays.”
You’re only given 3 songs to choose from?
”No. There’s pages and pages and pages of songs you can choose from. A few days before–Friday–you have to narrow it down to 3 top choices that are your possibilities. You work those three out and pick which one you want the most.”
Should the theme “Home” have been more geographically or artist driven?
“The themes are kind of broad, but I think that’s a good thing. It allows every person to put in a little bit of their individuality. With the theme “Home” that can literally mean anything, any song that really reminds you of home, you kind of get a feel for how that person grew up, or how that person feels about their family.”
How do you feel about Harry Connick Jr’s judging?
“I liked the way he judged. I know it sounds odd, because he was mean to me sometimes. It’s not everyday you get somebody [to tell you] what you are doing wrong. It’s more somebody saying ‘good job you sound great!’ If somebody tells you something that you’re doing wrong, you can improve on that. You can fix that. That’s really what he’s there for. He’s not saying we’re horrible singers. He’s nitpicking at things to make us even better than what we already are.”
How hard was it to have to leave everyone? What are you going to miss the most?
“Last night they had a car waiting for me. They told me I only had 45 minutes. I was like, ‘Forget it! Let the go car go. I’m going to take a taxi! I don’t want 45 minutes!’ I stayed for 4 hours just sitting and talking and just enjoying [their] company. Honestly, they are some of the best people I’ve ever met in my life. It was really hard to say goodbye. I’m going to miss being able to spend time with all of these amazing people. Not only are they so talented, but they have such kind hearts. Everyone is such a good person. It’s so great being around them.”
Was Hollywood Week difficult?
“It’s hard! It’s really hard work. Hollywood Week group night, especially. We really do work on two and 3 hours of sleep. It was probably one of the hardest weeks I’ve ever been through in my life. I was lucky enough to have a great group. They didn’t show it on the screen, but each one of my group members was amazing. They all pulled their own weight. We all contributed. I saw the drama in other groups. It wasn’t really pretty.”
Do you have a favorite American Idol contestant?
“Kelly Clarkson, for sure. I also really–Haley Reinhart. She was one of my favorite girls. I think she’s so unique.”
Did you and MK talk about the possibility of being eliminated?
“We sat around. We don’t really try to think about those things. She was, like, ‘I have this feeling I’m going home.’ I told her ‘No, you’re not going home. Don’t say that!’ We never know who is going home. When we were in that bottom. She was like ‘It’s me, it’s me.’ And I was telling her ‘No it’s not. Don’t tell yourself that.’ When my name got called, I wasn’t surprised or shocked. Both of us deserved to be there. It was OK that I went. She’s deserves to be where she is.”
What did Jlo say to you afterward?
“It was short. It was really emotional. I had some tears in my eyes. So did she. She was saying that I was one of her favorites, and that I needed to keep on going and not give up, because I have something special.”
Was it hard to sing after seeing your boyfriend, Matt’s video?
“It was kind of hard afterward. I hadn’t seen his face. Not even through video chat, or anything in over two months. It was hard to see him, because I miss him. I tried to suck it up a little bit and use that emotion in my performance. Yeah, it was a little difficult.”
What was it like to sit through that big “group therapy” session in the beginning (When Harry had to defend his judging)
“I was just taking it in, listening to what Harry said. He’s a great speaker. It was true what he was saying. Everything he says is for a reason. We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t great singers. We don’t need somebody telling us we’re great all the time. We need somebody telling us the things we need to fix. I always like hearing what he has to say. He’s such a great musician and he knows so much.”
It looks like all of the contestants recorded “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson to play during their goodbye package. Did the boys record it too?
“The boys are doing ‘Breakaway’ too. It’s our kiss-off song for all of us. We all recorded it in the studio.”
You auditioned for the X Factor in 2012. How was that experience different from American Idol?
“I’ve auditioned for X Factor, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, Idol. I didn’t make it too far on X Factor. I didn’t get too much of a taste of what everything was like. Idol to me is as good as it gets. It’s the best, the original. Everyone is a huge family. It’s been on for 13 seasons. It’s almost all the same crew members, staff people. Everyone’s so close. They treat us like family. They really do. It’s amazing.”
What was your favorite moment of the season?
“Probably doing the red carpet. That was amazing, that was my first ever red carpet. I’d never done anything like that. The interviews, and the pictures–that was a really cool moment. Something not a lot of people get to experience.”
Jennifer Lopez had said the vote wasn’t unanimous. Did you ever find out who voted for you?
“They didn’t tell me. But I assumed that one or two of them voted yes, just because of how Jlo reacted [She seemed angry]. I kind of knew it in her face. I could tell. I was thinking she probably voted for yes.”
How hard was it to perform the final song?
“It was kind of difficult to perform, just ’cause I had [in] my mind that I didn’t think they were going to use the save, just ’cause it’s so early on in the season. I was already starting to get emotional. I wanted to leave that stage with one of my best possible performances. I don’t think it was my best performance of that song, by any means. It was a little shaky in some areas. I couldn’t help it! It was an emotional time.”
Are there any singers that you’d like to work with?
“I’d love to work with Grace Potter. She is amazing. She’s incredible. Alicia Keys. So many. I love music. To be able to collaborate with any artist of this time. It would be an honor.”
Do you have any pre-performance ritual that you use?
“I have a little prayer. Before my first ever audition, the cattle call–my aunt, she wrote it for me on a little sticky note. I read it before I auditioned, so I read it before every single performance.”
What advice would you give to singers just starting out?
“I would say go for it. Don’t take no for an answer. I tried out for Idol twice. I tried out for X Factor, I believe 3 times. The Voice 3 or 4 times. America’s Got Talent 3 or 4 times. I was said no to a lot. I never gave up. Look at me now! It’s going to be hard at first, but just keep practicing. And keep going. It took me–I was 13 is when I started auditioning for shows. I’m 18 now. It takes awhile but, you can get there. You just have to believe in yourself.”