When she was just 11 years old, Paige Anne stood in the middle of Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, surrounded by thousands of spectators, and performed the national anthem ahead of a matchup between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The singer from Idaho Falls had won an audition to perform at the game in 2018 — an audition that almost didn’t happen because she was feeling sick. But, as her mom recalled to Eastidahonews.com at the time, Anne said a prayer before the audition and her “voice came out of nowhere” and “blew (the) judges away.”

Her performance at that Jazz game ended up going viral and launched a number of opportunities for her, the Deseret News reported.

Now, at 16, Anne has competed on “American Idol,” making it to the top 20 before her time on the show came to an end Monday night.

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Who is Paige Anne on ‘American Idol’ 2023?

Anne’s audition for this season of “American Idol” stood out for one big reason: She brought snow cones for “Idol” judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, and gave a shoutout to Tropical Sno in Idaho Falls.

Ahead of the audition, the teenager got a short pep talk from “Idol” star David Archuleta — a singer she has long admired and seen in concert a number of times. She told Archuleta she was nervous to try out in front of the show’s judges. Those nerves ended up having an impact on her audition as she began to sing Pink’s “What About Us,” but by the time she got to the end and her nerves had calmed a bit, the judges were visibly impressed with her powerhouse vocals.

“I was praying for that one note, and you hit it,” Richie said. “And that was when I said, ‘show business.’”

Although Perry did not vote to push Anne through to the next round, both Richie and Bryan gave the singer a “yes” and sent her through.

“This audition means literally the world to me,” Anne said during her audition, adding that she’s been watching the show since she was 6 years old and has long dreamed of being on the show.

At one point during her “Idol” run, Anne participated in a singoff with fellow contestant Megan Danielle, performing Adele’s “Easy On Me.” At that moment, the judges selected Danielle to move forward while sending Anne home.

But then last Sunday, “Idol” unexpectedly announced that Anne was still in the competition, competing in the show’s top 26. During the following episode, “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest announced that a contestant had dropped out. Anne was a “first alternate,” making her the go-to for filling the open spot, Masslive.com reported.

“I got on a Zoom (call) with some of the producers and they announced it to me,” Anne told Eastidahonews.com. “I was in tears. I was just so thankful for the opportunity.”

Competing for a spot in the top 20, Anne performed a powerful rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” during Monday night’s episode — leading the judges to admit they made a mistake eliminating her during the previous round.

“The whole time Paige was singing I kept thinking, ‘Who do you think you are to make us feel like maybe we made a mistake?’” Richie said, per Masslive.com. “That was perfecto.”

On April 23, “Idol” revealed that Anne made it to the top 20. The teenager — the youngest singer remaining in the competition — got emotional as she performed “Say Something” by A Great Big World during the episode.

“My emotions over came me once I stood behind that mic and heard them replay my idol journey,” Anne wrote on Twitter Sunday night. “I’ve never cried while singing and made it through that song before so that was an accomplishment in itself. I love you all and I hope to prove I’m worthy for your vote for Top 12.”

Anne did not get voted through to the top 12, the show revealed Monday night. But the singer indicated to fans that “this is just the beginning.”

“New flex- i’ve been eliminated not ONCE but TWICE on @americanidol,” Anne shared on Twitter earlier this week. “All jokes aside I LOVE YOU ALL and this is just the beginning.”


How to vote on ‘American Idol’ 2023

“American Idol” airs Sundays and Mondays at 7 p.m. MDT on ABC.

There are three ways to vote:

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Voting is limited to 10 votes per contestant per voting method.