Her hometown fans across Delaware were crushed to see Margie Mays’ spectacular run on American Idol end this past Sunday night. The fate of Wilmington’s favorite contestant in the smash ABC TV hit hung in the balance until the last minutes of the program’s Hawaiian round, when she learned the heartbreaking news that she wouldn’t be advancing as part of the top 20 singers heading to Hollywood.
Mays was understandably emotional in hearing the judges’ verdict, telling us she felt a mix of sadness, competitive frustration and physical exhaustion. A week after that disappointment, Mays shared her reflections with us on the extraordinary experience of making it so far in the competition, her optimism about future professional opportunities and even possibly giving American Idol another shot next season. (In fact, 78% of American Idol fans want Margie Mays to audition next season.)
During that final appearance, Mays smiled brightly as she took the live stage before an audience of hundreds, seeming self-assured as she performed Meghan Trainor’s hit All About the Bass. But afterward, Mays conceded that it may not have been her best vocal effort.
The judges unfortunately agreed. Katy Perry delivered the bad news that Mays’ performance didn’t quite measure up to the previous week’s home run, where Perry said Mays proved she was “a serious vocalist.” But in a promising let down offered with a warm hug, Perry told the young singer that while she wouldn’t be advancing in the competition, she would not be forgotten. “Love you, Miss Margs,” said Perry. “I am not abandoning you.”
Throughout the Delawarean’s special time in the national spotlight, we’ve loved hearing directly from Margie about the once-in-a-lifetime (or maybe not) experience behind the scenes at American Idol. Here’s the final installment of that conversation – for now!
Town Square Delaware: After your final performance, you told your fans on Facebook, “The first day I started filming American Idol, it finally hit me: I was home.” Tell us your thoughts behind that.
Mays: The answer to this is both simple yet elusive. It was just a feeling, a very sure feeling inside, one I had been waiting for. I always felt like I had so much untapped potential (like in physics, tons of potential energy bouncing inside me). But nowhere I had traveled, nothing I had ever experienced had ever really let me release it in the way I was hoping to.
When I started Idol, I just knew this was it. I got to take all my strengths and all the things I loved and focus them into this unbelievable passion project. So, it is just a feeling; but it means worlds more to me.
TSD: What surprised you most about the audition process and the American Idol experience?
Mays: Hmm… I’m not sure if anything surprised me. I knew pretty much exactly what I was walking into, but that’s also because I did my research. There are perhaps a couple things that surprised me, but I am wary to go into more detail because I don’t know how much I can discuss in interviews. I like to be careful because I have the utmost respect for this show – it both changed my life and made my dreams come true – and all the people that are a part of it.
TSD: If you could do it all over again, is there anything you would have done differently?
Mays: If I could do it all over again (which I would), I would just have MORE songs prepared. But, if we only ever started things when we felt 110% ready, we would never go anywhere. So, I am at peace with the entire experience.
TSD: What did you enjoy most about your run on American Idol?
Mays: I enjoyed every single thing about it. I love being on camera, I love performing, I love singing, I love entertaining, I love the adrenaline rush of all the above. I love working hard and going onstage not quite sure if I’m fully prepared (which is how American Idol works for most of the process). I loved every second of it.
TSD: How will this experience shape your thinking about your career going forward?
I would say the biggest thing is giving me confidence. There are so many people in Los Angeles (and around the world) who have the same goals as I do. I truly did not believe I was good enough to have success on a show like this (which is the reason I was too scared to audition). Fortunately, I have been proved wrong. I have way less fear moving forward.
TSD: Have people already reached out to you either for other stage or TV roles?
Mays: The phones have started ringing, yes. I have always had a mentality of say ‘yes’ to everything, which I still have. Now the options are more plentiful. It’s probably going to be a combination of ‘say yes to everything,’ but make sure they are wise choices and a smart use of time.
Time is so valuable in this short life. I want to make sure every part I go out for and project I invest in from now on is something that I really want, makes me stronger, and makes me happy. For instance, I don’t plan on walking any more dogs… 🙂
TSD: So, what are your immediate plans?
Mays: I’m trying to strike balance of short, and long term, goals. Short term, I’m putting original music out, continuing to build my social media, and starting to crank out some vlogs on my YouTube channel, where people can see more of my personality. These materials, while some seem frivolous, are both fun and intentional for me. Those kinds of materials are more valuable than one would know.
Long term, I’m going to try out for a bunch of stuff. I’d love to get into musical theatre (although that’s a beast of its own). I love being on camera, on stage, and on mic; now I’ll run towards all of those opportunities and see where I land.
TSD: What were the judges like?
Mays: So kind. I loved them from the start. I always looked Katy Perry straight in the eyes when I sang, and she always had this look on her face that said to me “you got this.” She is my adopted mother (a title she self-proclaimed on Twitter to me).
Lionel is one of the most intentional and kind humans I can think of. He cares about us, it’s so evident. He grabbed me the shoulders, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Please come back.” I hope to.
TSD: You seem to be hinting at an encore performance on American Idol…
Mays: Regarding American Idol, I hold it to the highest regard. If I am lucky enough, I would wholeheartedly JUMP at the opportunity to come back. Crossing my fingers on this one.