To anyone still paying attention to this somnambulant season of "American Idol", it was a shock: presumed frontrunner Angie Miller was sent home Thursday night, setting up a finale that pits Kree Harrison against Candice Glover for the crown.
The elimination seemed to surprise Miller, too, as she sobbed her way through (most of) her farewell song, Colton Dixon's "Never Gone," before being embraced by her family and the remaining contestants center stage. But, when MTV News spoke to her backstage, she let it be known that her exit from "Idol" is only the beginning.
"It was definitely emotional, but I'm not upset, I'm not defeated," Miller said. "I know this is just the start to what's going to happen, and I'm excited to see what's going to happen in the future."
And, sure, that's been the refrain repeated over and over (and over) by this season's "Idol" castoffs, but for once, you get the feeling Miller may actually make good on those words: Like former also-rans like Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry, she had no shortage of memorable moments during her time on the show, and her post-show career appears to be pointing towards bigger, better things. And she knows it.
"I mean 'American Idol' has shown that; there's been so many amazing people who didn't win, and I hope to carry on that Idol legend," she said. "I don't want to rest; I'm excited for the finale, and then the tour this summer, and then after that I hope to get signed and have albums and I'd love to act and I'm excited to see what happens."
And though she'll appear on next week's finale (rumors have her performing with another "Idol" great who came up just short, Adam Lambert), Miller's not about to pick a favorite to win it all: she's been close with Harrison and Glover all season long, and no matter who wins, she'll be cheering for them.
"We're so close, I love them," she said. "We just say all the time 'I love you, no matter what happens.' We all feel like we've won, and I'm so incredibly proud of them and I can't wait to root them on in the finale."
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.