By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated March 25, 2010 at 07:35 PM EDT

Image Credit: Nino Munoz/FoxIt wasn’t the most shocking elimination in American Idol history. But Paige Miles’ ouster from the show last night stung the 24-year-old nonetheless. Working on limited time and voice, a laryngitis-stricken Miles called today to talk about her elimination and the secret health troubles that have plagued her throughout the competition.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hi, Paige. How are you doing?

PAIGE MILES: Pretty good. How are you?

Good. Sorry to hear you’re so sick. You don’t sound too good.

Oh, it’s just laryngitis, and after all these interviews it’s getting worse. I’ve been struggling with it for a couple of weeks now.

Did that have a big effect on your ”Against All Odds” performance on Tuesday?

I was struggling vocally with it. There were things I wanted to do with it that I couldn’t so I was trying to find a different way to sing it. When you’re used to singing one way and your vocal cords aren’t letting you do that, it’s tough. I really struggled with the song.

Sounds tough.

My vocal cords have been swollen for several weeks now. We’ve been trying to get it better. With ”Honky Tonk [Women],” we even had to bring it down last minute because it was getting worse. Some days it would be better with the more rest I would give it, but then right back in rehearsals it would start to go again. It was tough. I really battled it out with my throat during this competition. It stinks. It’s a bummer, but, you know, it happens. It just means I wasn’t meant to be doing this right now. So it stinks, but sometimes things happen — bad vocal chords — but oh, well.

Do you think the judges were too hard on you after that performance?

You know, I don’t like to use being ill as an excuse for them to go easier on me because there are several things I deal with daily. I have medical conditions and if I used all those as reasons to why I couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t do much of anything in my life. But do I think they were hard on me? Yes, I do. They were super hard on me. They kept saying ”Where did Paige go?” and I was like, ”Obviously, Paige didn’t go to Mars.” I had a lot going on. I have hypertension — high blood pressure — I deal with, and it wasn’t being good. It was being very disobedient these past few weeks. And asthma. Asthma with laryngitis together was just awful. So yeah, and asthma played a huge part too in ”Against All Odds” because I was finding it difficult to breathe in a lot of places in the song. But that’s also something I struggled with in rehearsals, and I felt in rehearsals that maybe I should change the song. But I stayed with it and tried my best.

Did any comment really sting you?

Probably Randy’s: ”That was just terrible.” And Simon saying I had given up on the competition, which I hadn’t. My health had, but in no way had I ever thought for a minute that I wanted to give up.

Tell me a little bit about your song choice [“Against All Odds”] on Tuesday. It’s been done several times on past Idol seasons.

I don’t know why [I chose that one]. I probably should have researched that before to see its success rate. [Laughs] But I didn’t. Simon had said he wanted to see me connect and the lyrics in that song are just beautiful. And I had been performing against several odds for several weeks. So it felt right but I really just couldn’t pull it together.

If you could go back would you choose a different song?


Which one?

I’d probably pick an up-tempo [song], something like Thelma Houston’s ”Don’t Leave Me This Way.”

What’s it like behind the scenes when you all pick songs? Do you ask each other for advice?

Sometimes. It really depends on how much time we have to think about it. The weeks fly by, and before you know it, you have to pick another song. So it’s difficult because you’re trying to please your fans, the audience, the judges, and yourself. And those are usually all very, very different avenues. It’s hard to drive down four streets at once. We just try our best to make it work and sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.

You started off strong in this competition. What happened to that momentum?

Really, my health just got in the way. It really did. The first week I got sick, during the week of ”Smile,” I was at 206/103 – that was my blood pressure, which is stage three hypertension. It just really knocked me down, and I just really struggled getting it together after that.

What’s next for you?

To continue, to keep going for my dreams. Hopefully I have a career in music and entertainment where I can keep doing exactly what I love.

I know it must’ve been hard to lose that spot on tour. Are you still going to go check it out?

If I have time, I would love to go see them.