Delaware’s Margie Mays Falls Short on American Idol

Wilmington native Margie Mays delivered her final solo performance last night on American Idol

This story has been updated to include the results of Monday night’s American Idol

Local favorite Margie Mays will not be advancing to the next round of ABC’s smash hit singing competition American Idol.

Monday night’s episode closed with Mays’ Hollywood Week solo performance, which followed a duet with boyfriend Jonny West that aired Sunday. 

Mays’ position as the final act of the evening’s two-hour show signaled her star power as a popular returning contestant from last season. Judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie seemed to enjoy May’s solo performance, with Bryan saying, “She sounds really good.” 

Two judges seemed to like Mays’ performance last night. But as they whittled field, judges said goodbye to Mays, one of the show’s most popular contestants.

But when the trio of judges had to make their final decisions about the next round of the top 40 contestants, the Wilmington native and Tower Hill School grad did not advance. West, however, did get the green light.

Mays was one of about 25 singers who were cut from the show last night. After learning the stunning news, Mays choked back tears and told show producers, “Now I’ll be rooting for Jonny. I hope he wins the whole thing.”

The disappointment for Mays follows a performance with West of Meghan Trainor and John Legend’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” that judges said “barely” got them through to the next round.

 

“I think both of you kind of suffered in what you showed. But we know you’re both better than what you gave,” said judge Katy Perry. After a long pause, she added, “You both are barely passing on to the next round.”

The stinging appraisal by Perry did not bode well for Mays.  Last night’s selection for Mays was Freya Ridings’ “Lost Without You,” which ended in a way that left the singer concerned it had not been her best moment.  She joins about two dozen who were cut from the highly-competitive show.

West first took the stage in American Idol’s second episode this season, when his audition wowed the judges – most of all Katy Perry – who said, “I don’t want this for you and your relationship, but you may go further than Margie,” a prediction that proved prophetic.

Delaware’s Margie Mays and her boyfriend Jonny West “barely made it through” night two of Hollywood Week on American Idol

It hasn’t gone unnoticed by Margie Mays fans that Perry seems to have cooled a bit to the Tower Hill (’11) graduate this season. Since Mays’ “2.0” audition earlier this season, when Perry voted “no” at the audition, Perry has leveled a mix of praise and criticism to the 26-year-old Wilmington native.

Mays says, unfortunately, viewers aren’t seeing the whole reality. The Stanford grad says Perry has been incredibly positive and tells us (below) that show editors clipped footage of Katy Perry jumping up and down enthusiastically after Mays’ first Hollywood Week performance, which aired last week.

 

Mays calls West “the love of her life,” and the two have been collaborating on their music careers. West plays the piano, has an incredible voice and has his own band. The two live in California, and in the year since she last appeared on American Idol, Mays has released three original singles.

 

After hearing the judges’ verdict on her fate, Mays said her relationship with West “is the only prize I will ever need” and that she will focus all her energies and hopes on his successful advance through the Idol competition.

Wiping away tears on camera last night, Mays said “now I’m ready for Jonny, I want Jonny to take it home.” 

“I hope he wins it. I will be there rooting for him the whole time.”

We caught up with Margie yesterday to get her opinion of her performances, feedback from the judges and her prospects moving forward.

 

Town Square Delaware: Why does Katy seem to be giving you the cold shoulder this season?

Margie Mays: So, here’s the truth. I plan on releasing a much more extensive video on my YouTube channel about all of this. But for now, the answer is simple: she WAS extremely harsh during the audition.

However, during Hollywood Week, I found her to be quite warm to me. The harshness is happening in post-production editing and is simply NOT what happened. After my first Hollywood Week performance (when I sang “The Voice Within”), Katy STOOD UP for me and screamed through the microphone “THAT is how you do it!” and had lots of other praise.

The “reaction” they showed was her reacting to an entirely different competitor’s performance.

As for duets, she and the other judges were so kind to us. It wasn’t a great performance for Jonny, and it was evident in person (not so much on TV). They were laughing with him and totally supportive of him in person.

Katy told us she (and Luke and Lionel) love us as a couple. She also told me I sounded GREAT and had more specific kind compliments on our singing. She did note that obviously we are better singing on our own and said a couple lines that maybe sounded like were semi-scripted about how we needed to orbit separately.

The part about “barely” making it through didn’t bother me in the moment. One, because it was after LOTS of kindness in person. Secondly, because I know I’m on a TV show is *drama* is the name of the game.

 

TSD: Do you think Jonny was nervous because he doesn’t want to risk outshining you?

Mays: I see a lot of this on social media comments. To be blunt, this opinion is absolute garbage. Jonny and I are zero percent in competition with one another. We want each other to shine to our fullest capacities.

Ironically, the editing REALLY helped Jonny out last night. He struggled immensely in this round and was emotionally on edge and extremely uncomfortable. I was there for him and was doing (made up) sign language to help him remember the words on stage. He did his best that round.

He has never dulled his shine to not outshine me. In this round, the judges could tell that I was much more comfortable than him. So, at the end of the day, that opinion is so, so false. We are both trying our hardest.

The public only sees 5-10% of what truly happens, and then forms opinions based on sometimes biasing edits. We are both trying our hardest. If you see one of us look nervous, we really truly were. We’ve never once worried about outshining each other because the fact is – we aren’t in competition with one another. His win is my win and vice versa. Always.

TSD: What do you think of your Hollywood Week and Duet performances? I know there’s a frenzy singing up for songs and some folks struggle with the song they end up with. 

Mays: I’m proud of our performances. When we signed up for “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” (by Megan Trainor) I was pumped about it. It wasn’t until around 1 in the morning (the morning of our performances) that Jonny made it clear he didn’t know the song very well and couldn’t remember the words.

At that point, it’s a REALLY unwise choice to change the song. I kept asking him if he wanted to change the song, but he said no. I honestly was shocked at how well we sounded on TV.

As for my personal performance, I was super proud of it both in real-time and watching back. It was a great round for me, and whether editing shows it or not, the judges saw that. But when the person you love is struggling, being there for them will be your heart’s priority. So, I didn’t care about the ideas I had for performance and ‘showing off’ or ‘engaging the audience’… I had to make sure to lock eyes with Jonny and make sure he felt as comfortable as possible while on stage.

TSD: Do you think you two should have gone into the duet mentally stronger? You know how tough the judges can be.

Mays: I’ve been mentally strong the whole time. I am perfectly aware of what I’m walking into.

As for Jonny, it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed. I told him many times this would be “the worst week of his life,” and there’s only so much you can prepare for it. When you’re fighting massive pressure combined with massive sleep deprivation, it’s can be hard to be mentally strong.

TSD: Does Jonny have any regrets about participating in American Idol? 

Mays: Never!! This was the best feeling in the world getting to sing with him! It was an honor and my favorite performance to date on the show. I love singing with him, it’s a dream come true. Maybe we didn’t get fully celebrated in the commentary of the edits, but we loved every single minute of our performance. It brought us closer as a couple.

TSD: How has this season been having Jonny there? How is the competition different this year? There must be advantages to being a veteran contestant.

Mays: It’s been wonderful doing it with Jonny. We never felt compared to one another when this was happening in real-time; it was the post-production edits combined with social media comments that really seem to be comparing the two of us.

I think there are stronger female singers this year. As the show grows in popularity, better singers gravitate toward it and want to be cast. The female singers on this season are CRAZY good; more impressive than I even remember last year.

Being a veteran has its advantages, absolutely. But for me, if anything it just feels like a little bit of pressure to do just as well, if not better, than the first time. 

TSD: What was the goal for your solo performance going into tonight? What emotions are running through your mind and what are you focused on?

Mays: At this point in solo round, you’re so incredibly tired. Duets finish late the night before, and you essentially have to pick/fight for a song from a list of like 30-50 songs that you’re just laying eyes on. You have to go with a song you already know the lyrics and melody to. That REALLY narrows the playing field.

After you pick the song and run to sign up for it, you immediately have your voice lesson, and go to sleep and perform it the next morning. There’s no time to learn a new song; you pray there’s the “right” song on the list for you and that it’s enough.

At the end of the day, I said this last year and still believe it… to survive Hollywood Week, every star in the universe has to be aligning for you. For some it does, others it doesn’t.


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About the Contributor

Christy Fleming

Christy Fleming

The managing editor of TownSquareDelaware.com, Christy Fleming also supports a variety of non-profit initiatives in Delaware. Her background includes positions in public relations, advertising and journalism.