'American Idol': Emily Piriz on Harsh Harry, Performing a J-Lo Song and Bonding with M.K.
'American Idol': Emily Piriz on Harsh Harry, Performing a J-Lo Song and Bonding with M.K.
Jeff Dodge
Jeff Dodge
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Last Thursday night, Emily Piriz became the second contestant from the Top 13 to be eliminated this season on American Idol. Many assumed she'd be in the Bottom 3, if not eliminated altogether. But there's no denying she has talent, as we saw with her final solo performance during Hollywood Week and her cover of Pink's "Glitter in the Air."

Emily talked with reporters, including BuddyTV, about her experience on Idol. She brought up her thoughts on the judges, if Hollywood Week is as grueling as it seems on TV and bonding with the other contestants. Also, how many other singing/talent competition shows did she try out for before Idol? Read on to find out.

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Performing a J-Lo Song and Harsh Harry

During the Top 12, Emily performed a song by Idol's very own Jennifer Lopez. She obviously is a fan of the Latina superstar, and the feeling seems to be mutual. "[J-Lo's] support meant everything. Since the first audition ever, she was a huge fan of mine. She told me I was a great singer the first time I ever sang for her. I used to be a little girl looking up to her and she was one of my idols, so to have that support from her, it meant everything."

Then there's Harry Connick, Jr., otherwise known as Harsh Harry. Emily didn't mind his blunt judging style. "Personally, I liked the way he judged," she said. "I know it sounds bad because he kind of was mean to me sometimes. But I liked it just because it's not every day you get somebody telling you what you're doing wrong. It's more somebody saying, oh, good job, you sound great. But if somebody's telling you something that you're doing wrong, you can improve on that and you can fix that."

Speaking of which, during the Top 12 results show, Harry gave a lecture of sorts to the contestants that I thought was really powerful and something I hope all of the singers were paying close attention to. Emily definitely was. "I was just kind of taking it in," Emily said. "It was true what he was saying ... that we wouldn't be here if we weren't great singers and we don't need somebody telling us we're great all the time. We need somebody telling us the things we need to fix." It's good to hear when contestants are willing to listen to those kinds of comments.

Choosing Songs

When it comes to choosing what songs everyone's going to sing each week, the final decision is ultimately up to the contestants. Before that, though, they're given a huge list of songs to choose from, then they narrow it down to three by Friday. "We sing it in front of Randy [Jackson] and some of the producers," Emily explained. "They'll tell us their thoughts. ... Then on Monday, we have a rehearsal and Randy's there and he watches us on the stage performing it out, and he'll come up to us and tell us great things, things we have to fix. He really helps us get prepared for the live shows."

Speaking of songs, you might have noticed these past couple weeks that instead of the usual exit song that plays during the eliminated singers' goodbye videos, the song has been Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" but actually sung by the contestants themselves. Emily revealed that that is indeed the goodbye song this year. And it's not just the girls covering it. "The boys are doing 'Breakaway' too. ... We all recorded it in the studio."

The Top 11 this week are performing "Songs of the Cinema." I was really curious to know if she had her song already picked out had she stayed on in the competition. She told me that she would have performed "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," a very iconic cinematic number.

Hollywood Week: The Hardest Week Ever

Every year, we look forward to the drama that is Hollywood Week. But is it as difficult as Idol makes it out to be on TV? I asked Emily this very question and she said it's "even worse." They work on "two and three hours of sleep," especially during the group round.

"It was probably the hardest week I've ever been through in my life," she confessed. "But I was lucky enough to have a great group. They didn't show it on screen, but each one of my group members was amazing and they all pulled their own weight; we all contributed. ... But I saw the drama in other groups unravel and it wasn't really pretty." 

FOX Moves Rake to Fridays, Idol Results to 9pm >>>  

In the Bottom 3

Emily was joined in the Bottom 3 by M.K. Nobilette and Jena Irene, but after Jena was declared safe, it was down to just two. M.K. had a feeling she was heading home, but Emily told her, "'No, you're not going home, don't say that.' We never know who's going home. When we were in that bottom, she was like, 'It's me, it's me.' And I was telling her, 'No, it's not, don't tell yourself that, it's not.'"

But Emily wasn't shocked when her name was called instead. After she performed for the Judges' Save, J-Lo loudly declared the decision was not unanimous. Because of that, Emily had a feeling Jennifer did in fact want to keep her around. "I kind of knew it in her face, and I could kind of tell. Afterwards, she was saying that I was one of her favorites, so I was thinking she probably voted yes."

Bonding with Each Other

Pretty much year after year, we hear the contestants say that they grow close to each other and feel like they are family while on the show. Emily says that's no different this season. "M.K. and I had a close bond because we were roommates. Jena and I had a great bond. I had a great bond with Sam, Alex, dexter -- really, all of us were so close. We all hung out together every night. But M.K. and I were roommates, so I guess we had that extra bond."

But after being eliminated, she was supposed to leave about 45 minutes after the show ended. But she ended up staying for about four hours "just sitting, talking and just enjoying each other's company because, honestly, these are some of the best people I've ever met in my life. It was really hard to say goodbye."

Auditioning for All the Talent Shows and Looking to the Future

We as Idol viewers may have come to know Emily from American Idol, but you might not have known that she actually has tried out for all the singing and talent shows: Idol, X Factor, America's Got Talent and The Voice. "Idol's I guess a little different," she said. "I didn't make it too far in X Factor, so I didn't get too much of a taste of what everything was like. But Idol to me is as good as it gets. It's the best, it's the original."

"I tried out for Idol twice," she went on to say. "Tried out for X Factor I believe three times, The Voice three or four times, America's Got Talent three or four times. I was said no to a lot and I never gave up, and look at me now." There's no denying her determination and how motivated she has been to making her dreams come true.

But now that she's been on all these shows and made it to the live rounds on Idol, what does the future hold for Emily Piriz? "I'm going to be going back home, so I'm going to finish high school and graduate. Then I'm planning to move out here to California and just continue to pursue music." She envisions her first album being a "pop/rock kind of vibe." 
 

American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

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