Singer Came In 2nd Place In Lincoln County Contest But Keeps Advancing On American Idol

Paige Anne never hit a sour note in her audition for American Idol, but she did manage to share her favorite Sour Patch snow cones for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, prior to belting out her version of P!nk’s “What About Us” last week. She followed that up with a soulful performance of “Hallelujah” on Sunday in the first round of the hit talent competition’s Hollywood auditions. First, she worked with mentor David Archuleta on maintaining her confidence on stage.

Jake Nichols

April 03, 20235 min read

Paige Anne 4 3 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The series of auditions contestants face to make it to the American Idol live shows are pressure filled, something the teen has so far overcome.

It was a tension-filled moment for the 16-year-old Idaho Falls native two weeks ago, but despite an unpopular no vote from Perry, Anne nabbed a Golden Ticket propelling her to Hollywood Week on the hit ABC show.

Nerve-Wracking Tryout

"It wasn't my best performance. I was so scared and I didn't think I was going to be picked," Anne told Cowboy State Daily about her Golden Ticket performance.

After all, the teen sensation has been singing since she was 6. Anne has fronted her own rock cover band Paige Anne & Almost Famous since she was 12. 

The high school sophomore also has sung national anthems at the Monster Energy SuperCross, Lucas Pro Oil MotorCross, Utah Jazz basketball games, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games and the Idaho State Fair. 

Paige Anne with her golden ticket
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Wyoming Connection

Some Wyomingites may recall Anne competed in a Wyoming contest called The Vocalist in 2020. 

The Lincoln County talent show is modeled after American Idol and produced by SVI Media in Afton. Anne was just 13 when she belted a spot-on version of Tori Kellys take on Dont You Worry Bout A Thing. She placed second. 

A born performer, Anne exudes moxie. She is poised and brimming with confidence, although she says with an eye roll that, "my mom says I talk too much." 

She has been on a big stage under bright lights since, well, forever. 

But that first American Idol audition threw her. 

"As soon as I walked in, I was nervous. And I was scared that I was scared. You know what I mean?" she said. "My mouth was cotton dry. I have not been that nervous since my audition for this musical when I was 8. I walked out of there and didn't remember a single thing."

Paige was jolted back to reality when she flung open the audition room doors and her mother Launie was right there waiting, and the Golden Ticket was in the singers hands, and it suddenly all became apparent: Paige was going to Hollywood.

Snow Cones?

The whole snow cone thing came up early in the tryout process when Anne mentioned to the AI production team that she worked summers at Tropical Sno Eastern Idaho, a snack shack on the banks of the Snake River. 

The shows producers played up that angle, buying Anne a snow cone shaver, and there was the Idaho teenager handing out her specialty frozen concoction for three of the biggest names in the music industry. 

Katy Perry used snow cone analogies to basically say she didnt think the singer was ready. The Kissed a Girl pop queen said Annes start was like ice, though the end of the short audition felt more like flavor began to be added. 

Perry's criticism was branded overly harsh by many entertainment outlets, including Good Housekeeping, which ran the headline: American Idol Fans Call Out Katy Perry Over Her Controversial Decision in Tense Audition.

"They edited out some of what she said," Anne claimed, taking the feedback in stride. "I did start shaky, but found my voice quickly."

Judges Richie and Shelton saw enough to be intrigued about what the singer might bring later down the line. Anne says she hopes that meteoric growth is what defines her throughout the show.

"Thank you, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, for taking a chance on me. Katy Perry, I'll prove you wrong," Anne posted on her Facebook page. "Challenge accepted. I will not let you down!"

Paige Anne
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Positive Career Path

Anne grew up crushing on David Archuleta, a second-place finisher on American Idol in 2008. The two share a similar career arc. Archuleta began crooning at competitions by age 10 after his family moved to Sandy, Utah.

Both Archuleta and Anne are also members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Personally, this whole journey has brought me closer to God," Anne shared. "This experience, I know not many 16-year-olds get to enjoy. But I am just putting everything in His hands, and its okay no matter if I do or don't. Im on this path for a reason."

Which made pairing her with Archuleta as her mentor made her Hollywood audition even more special.

Moving forward, Anne has her song choices already picked out with the help of the shows production team. She could not divulge what the songs are because of contractual obligations but expect them to be in the pop femme vein ala P!nk, Adele, Sara Bareilles. 

But probably not anything in Katy Perrys catalogue of hits.

"I would never do a judge's song," Anne stated flatly. "If you do a judges song, well, they honestly don't like when you sound exactly like them. They want to see you bring your style to it."

Anne's style has been described as pop soul with a bit of rock grit thrown in. 

She said the shows producers were very accepting during the song choice process, offering advice but letting each singer do their thing. 

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For Anne, it's mostly about showing development within a song and across the 21st season of American Idol. 

"Every song I have is usually all the same level of good. But you don't want to be just impressive all the time. You need to show new tricks along the way," Anne said.

Anne said she is excited to perhaps rope in a few more fans from the Cowboy State. Her following in Idaho is growing by the day but there's plenty of room on the teen idols bandwagon.

"Ever since I competed in The Vocalist, and seeing all the love from Wyoming, I'm so grateful for any support," Anne said.

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Jake Nichols

Features Reporter