The eyes of Delaware were on hometown favorite Margie Mays in last night’s episode of American Idol, the first post-audition round of the smash hit show’s 17th season.
The California-based singer told us she didn’t feel her performance of “Lay me down,” by English singer-songwriter Sam Smith was her best, and she guessed it would be her final one on the show.
“I actually walked off the stage and texted my parents that I was going home. I was so certain I hadn’t left enough of a mark. Thankfully, they kept me around,” said Mays.
The Tower Hill grad had already successfully navigated her audition (which aired on the season premiere), charming judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, and earning a ticket to this week’s “Hollywood” round of the competition. (Mays shared her journey to the big stage with us earlier this month.)
Last night’s winning performance means Mays will sing again tonight at 8pm in American Idol’s “Group Night.” The top 98 will perform in two rounds tonight on ABC.
Mays told us, “Tonight is a big night for me for the show. Hollywood Week is the week where they separate the good from the great, and the great from the ‘out of this world’ — their words, not mine,” she says.
Mays brought her now famous positive/nervous energy to her performance, admitting she worried about being taken seriously. “I’m nervous! I’m really nervous, I’m serious!”
Margie told us about the excruciating moments waiting to find out if she made the cut in last night’s taped round. She texted us:
“The hours I waited between singing and doing the Lines of 10 elimination were… not fun. I felt disappointed in myself but knew it was the best I could’ve done under the GRUELING circumstances of Hollywood Week. I knew – and know – I can sing that song better. When I walked back onto the stage for the elimination, I was smiling at first, just thankful for the opportunity and knew it was coming to a short (but still awesome) close.
“However, as soon as they started calling names, my heart was… thumping in my mouth. I have never felt that before … I was SO nervous. I watched some of the strongest singers step forward, knowing that my name hadn’t been called and wasn’t going to be.
“Then – a pause – and they called my name – LAST. I literally keeled over and just started crying.”
Mays’ performance ended with Katy Perry sneezing in a handkerchief – a funny aside that was maybe a sign from Perry that Mays’ performance was indeed awesome, and all would be okay. Mays says she has felt a connection with Perry since her first audition round. “Every time I sing, I look at her and she just has a look in her eyes like, ‘you got this.’ I call her ‘mommy’ every time I talk to her.”
Episodes this week were all taped in advance. Live episodes start in April. But Mays says has treated each performance like it’s the most important of her life. And she promises to deliver her very best tonight.