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MAR
7
8 MOS

'American Idol' Finalist Emily Piriz on Kiss-Off Songs and the Girls' Chances of Winning

"I don't think it has to do with you being a cute guy or a girl," the season 13 contestant told reporters on a conference call Thursday.

Emily Piriz American Idol L
Michael Becker / Fox

In past seasons of American Idol, producers always choose one number as the goodbye song for the eliminated contestant, be it Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day,” Daughtry’s “I’m Going Home,” or Phillip Phillips’ “Gone, Gone, Gone.”

When  Florida’s Emily Piriz was sent home last night, the voice you heard singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” was not that of the Season One champ, but her own.

In a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, Piriz -- who name-checked Clarkson and Season 10’s Haley Reinhart as her personal Idol role models -- revealed that every contestant already recorded their own version of Clarkson’s hit to be used on Thursday evening's elimination episodes.

STORY: What's Next For Emily Piriz? High School Graduation and a Move to L.A.

“The boys are doing ‘Breakaway’ too,” she said. “It’s the kiss-off song for all of us. We all recorded it in the studio.”

Of course, home isn’t where any contestant wanted to go on the ironically themed evening, but Piriz -- who landed in the bottom three along with Jena Irene and her roommate, MK Nobilette -- said she is looking forward to returning to her “big comfy bed” and a “home-cooked meal” after she completes her rounds of talk show appearances next week. 

Season 13 is starting to resemble previous eras of Idol, where one by one the girls are picked off early in the competition. While Piriz  acknowledged the pattern, she said she still believes the playing field is level.

"I don’t think it has to do with you being a cute guy or a girl," she said. "The girls are getting worried, but it's just good be motivation to step it up."

Of her choice to perform “Let’s Get Loud” in front of judge Jennifer Lopez, Piriz said she has no regrets, as “that song really means home to me." The teen said she  hoped to perform "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz on next week's "cinema"-themed performance night.

“As far as song choice goes it is basically all on us. We have three choices and we sing it in front of Randy Jackson and some of the producers and they will tell us our thoughts,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “On Monday, we have a rehearsal and Randy is there and watches us on the stage and he will tell us things we have to fix. He really helps us get prepared for the live shows.”

When asked if the producer’s decision to show a video of her Marine boyfriend, Matt, prior to her turn at the microphone may have had a hand in throwing her off her game, Piriz  admitted it was “hard to sing afterward."

PHOTOS: Fresh Faces, 'Harsh' Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez's Return

“I hadn’t seen his face -- not even through video chat -- in over two months, so it was hard to see him because I missed him,” she said. “I tried to suck it up a little bit and use that emotion in my performance."

Piriz agreed that this year’s themes are “kind of broad,” but believes that’s “a good thing because it allows every person individuality. ”

While judge Harry Connick Jr.’s critiques may have seemed harsh to some, Piriz said that she appreciated his honesty even though he  “was sometimes kind of mean to me."

“He’s a great speaker and it was true what he was saying... that we wouldn’t be here if we weren’t great singers and we don’t need someone telling us we are great when we need someone telling us what we need to fix,” she said.

Twitter: @MicheleAmabile, @Idol_Worship