Sixteen-year-old Latter-day Saint Paige Anne has been singing and watching American Idol since she was six years old. She saw contestants on the show from her couch and knew that’s what she wanted to do, too. Now just 10 years later, Paige Anne is seeing her dream come true when on last week’s episode, she had her chance to audition for American Idol’s season 21.
“This audition means literally the world to me,” Paige Anne said on the episode. And before she performed, she also got a little guidance from a very personally meaningful mentor: former American Idol season 7 runner-up David Archuleta.
“I have been a huge David Archuleta fan since I was really little. I actually still have a poster of him in my room. When I was 10 or 11, he came to my hometown [in Idaho] a lot for his concerts.”
Before her audition for the judges, David gave Paige Anne a little pep talk over video chat. About combating her nerves, David told her, “Give it one moment to just burst, just let it all of your system, just let it be a moment for you.”
Before her performance, Paige Anne handed each of the judges—Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan—a Sour Patch Kids-flavored snow cone from Tropical Snow in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where she works. But that lighthearted moment came at a cost: she told LDS Living that right after her audition, she was out on the Las Vegas strip filming other promotional material for the episode when she got a call from producers that they needed her back at the hotel ASAP.
“The producer we were working with [outside] got a call and said, ‘Paige is needed in the judging room right now!’ So I had to sprint half a mile back to the hotel to do my little bit with Ryan Seacrest about making snow cones, and so one of my core memories about this whole experience now is just running. And I am not athletic at all … so I probably looked like a sweaty hot mess!!”
Paige Anne also told LDS Living that she is grateful for the support she’s always had from her family over the years—and that her faith in God has grown through this experience too.
“One thing I’ve learned throughout this competition is just to put [everything] in God's hands, because I tend to get overwhelmed at times. It actually has made me become closer with my Heavenly Father because I have had to just hand it to Him sometimes because I physically can’t handle it. As a 16-year-old, sometimes it’s a lot to handle! It's definitely been a time when I’ve found myself becoming closer to Him and more in tune with the opportunity I have to talk to somebody who is always on my side.”
When it came time for her audition, Paige Anne sang “What About Us” by P!nk and blew the judges away with the second half of her performance. Paige Anne’s vocal runs, range, maturity, and passion garnered “yes” votes from Idol judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. With two out of three judges voting to keep her, Paige Anne will now advance to the Hollywood rounds later this season. She also says that her main takeaway from her audition is to prove Katy Perry—her lone “no” vote—wrong.
“She was my ‘no’, and she told me I wasn’t ready. But I truly believe I wouldn’t be on this path if I wasn’t ready. So I’m just excited to see what my journey has in store, and I’m really excited to share it with everyone.”
You can watch her full audition and pep talk from former Idol runner-up David Archuleta in the video player below.