Frank Micelotta/FOX
March 07, 2014 at 04:18 PM EST

America did not get loud for Emily Piriz.

The 18-year-old Florida native was the second finalist sent home by America’s vote on American Idol. Piriz sang “Let’s Get Loud” by judge Jennifer Lopez on Wednesday night’s “Home” themed show. Though Lopez liked the performance, Piriz still got the boot. For the second week in a row, the bottom three was a girl’s club with MK Nobilette and Jena Irene joining Piriz in “the most hated stools in television,” as host Ryan Seacrest noted. EW talked to Emily Piriz right after the elimination to see how she feels.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling?

EMILY PIRIZ: I’m okay. This has been an incredible experience and everyone there is amazing and deserves to win, so it’s okay.

What was going through your mind after you were the first one sent into the bottom three?

I was a little nervous. I was like, ‘Okay, now let me think of my song and practice a little in my head just in case.’ I got nervous, but I wasn’t trying to put my hopes up too high before the show started so that whatever happens, happens.

What did Jennifer say to you after?

She didn’t say a lot. She was kind of teary a little bit. She said, “Don’t give up. You have a great voice and this isn’t the end. Keep going.”

What about Harry?

Harry talked to me for a while. Basically, he said that everything he told me was to help me grow as an artist and that “this isn’t the end for you. Keep going, keep trying.” He just encouraged me a lot. He was like, “Don’t hate me! I know you hate me now!” And I was like, “No! I don’t hate you!”

So, are you just gonna go back to high school now?

Yeah, I’m a senior. I’m just gonna go back home, definitely want to go back to school and graduate. Me and Jena were actually talking that we want to move out to [Hollywood] together this summer. MK was my roommate. The three of us in the bottom were the closest. And our moms got super close too!

What about college plans?

Well, I got accepted to a bunch of colleges in Florida, and that was my plan. Now, I definitely want to go to college, but I want to try things out and come out here and pursue music and pursue my dreams. I can always go back to school. I’d never want to sacrifice my education, but this is my dream so I want to take a shot at it.

Did you pick a college you were going to go to already?

Yeah, the University of Northern Florida. Me and my friend were already roommates, we were about to apply for housing and this happened. She called me three days ago and was like, “Oh, I found a new roommate.” Oh my gosh! But so did I! Sorry! It’s weird going through that whole college search, but it’s worth it to be here. It’s like an alternate universe. You have two things planned out in your life. You’re going to go to college or be on TV and be a rock star.

Anything you won’t miss from this experience?

Having early wake up calls I’m not going to miss. I’m going to miss everything. It’s all fun, it’s all been an experience of a lifetime. I’m never going to get this experience again, I’m never going to be with these people. I’m here every day working with these people, and that’s not gonna happen again. Yeah, I’ll see them in the future. I don’t know, this is just an experience, and I’m gonna miss everything about it.

Who else will you stay in touch with?

For sure, me and Jena are gonna stay in touch. Same with MK. I mean, I made friends with everyone, but MK and Jena are the closest girls to me. Sam, we’re really close, and same with Alex. We’re all close, it’s so hard. I want to stay in touch with as many people as possible, honestly. We have each other’s numbers now and Jena lives in Detroit, but you know, I can take a trip out there. MK lives here in California. Back home Sam lives in Florida, so I can go visit everyone!

Were you surprised that the show was less of a competition and felt more like a family?

You think at home, especially when it gets to the bottom, that everyone must hate each other. But it’s not a competition; we’re not trying to outdo each other. We’re trying to do the best that we each can do, and this is a family. This is our home away from home. We’re each others’ brothers and sisters. Honestly, I’ve watched all the seasons and I think we are the closest. Seriously, we hang out with each other every night.

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