The powerful pipes of Paige Miles were laid low by laryngitis during her last few weeks on American Idol, and understandably the 24-year-old pre-school teacher from Naples, Fla., now based in Houston, was disappointed to be on the other side of the Top 10. Miles spoke to PEOPLE about friendships, the future and how to soothe a very sore throat. –Cynthia Wang
Last week, Lacey Brown spoke of her deep friendship with you. What can you tell us about your bond?You’re going to make me cry! We actually just got off the phone a little bit ago. Lacey is just an amazing person and we bonded immediately. We became roommates after making Top 24 and we were roommates until she left last week. She is just a genuinely caring and sweet person and just so honest and loving and we both are girls who are very devoted to our families and had a lot of things in common. We both teach programs at our churches. We just connected on the fact that it was okay to be a good girl! We never broke curfew, we were always hanging out and having good time. We are actually thinking about getting an apartment together in L.A.!
So that means you will continue with a music career?Yes, I want to continue to pursue a music career and see where it takes me. I want to do pop-rock-soul, a mix of Tina Turner and maybe Christina Aguilera. I like all styles of music but I’m definitely more comfortable with that kind of rock-y soul.
But Tina Turner rocks some very high heels and you did not seem to like those shoes.No more heels like that, absolutely not! But I definitely will experiment with fashion more.
Is there a sense of freedom to explore now outside of Idol?Hmm. I would say yes and no because going on tour, you would learn so much of that process.
So it was tough knowing the judges already decided you were not going to be saved before you sang your swan song?Yes, I initially thought the save was something that even if they’re not going to use it, you get the opportunity to at least sing for it, and then they make their decision, but for the statement to be made before I opened my mouth, I was pretty bummed.
You had a terrible case of laryngitis!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 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, like big … tunes like “All Right Now,” which I love and I am super-comfortable at, and I would kind of shy away and try to do something smaller in efforts to not, like, overtax my chords or so something where I could possibly damage them.
What have you been doing to soothe your throat?Throat Coat Tea! I have high blood pressure so I can’t take a lot of different throat lozenges because they have salt in them. So really tea is the only remedy for me. Even sore throat medicines and over-the-counter decongestants raise my blood pressure, so I kind of have to naturally go through it.
Tell us: Would Paige have gone further if she hadn’t had laryngitis?Frank Micelotta/FOX