updated 05/06/2013 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/06/2013 AT 11:00 AM ET
On Saturday, Angie Miller, Kree Harrison and Candice Glover returned to Massachusetts, Texas and South Carolina, respectively.
Here’s what they had to tell PEOPLE about their emotional visits:
What was the trip home like?
Angie: I got off the plane and felt the cold weather and I was like, “Yep! Definitely back in Boston. It’s not 90 degrees anymore.” … It was just awesome being back in my home and seeing my pets.
Kree: I kept thinking as I was getting ready that I was just going to an event rather than something that was for me. It was so surreal … tons of people I’ve never seen in my life [showed up] that were from all over actually.
Candice: I probably cried about six or seven times just because of how many people were there. I went home, and before I even turned on the road I was crying because it just reminded me of how I used to be on that road and play with my cousins and my brothers and sisters and how I didn’t have much to do. I went to work and paid my bills and that was about it. But now, seeing how far I’ve come, I kind of lost it.
Angie: I was home – but there were 200 people outside of my house waiting for me to walk out. It was a different atmosphere, and my family and I realized, “Wow, I’m at home but it’s never going to be the same.”
Kree: I went to this amazing church that was the first place I ever sang and I got to see our preacher, who is this amazing woman. And the church itself has so much history. That’s where my parents got married. That’s where I was baptized. My sister got married there. The preacher actually spoke at both of my parents’ funerals, so to see her and to get to go to that church was really, really cool.
Candice: When I first ate fried chicken for the first time in four months, that’s when I knew that I was home. I don’t know if California just doesn’t have fried chicken but we haven’t had the chance to go anywhere that has had fried chicken so I was going through withdrawals. So, when I finally had it, I was in heaven.
Did you worry much about preparing for the future competition?
Angie: No, I didn’t want to have to think about that. I wanted to focus on the people there and show Beverly [Mass.], how much I appreciate them.
Kree: With every week we never have a lot of time, so every week I try and live in the moment. … So no, it didn’t cross my mind at all because I wanted to soak it all in as much as I could. It only happens once.
Candice: During the concert and the parade, when I got to just sit in the car and see the people, I put aside the show completely and I wasn’t stressed. We have three songs to sing this week but that wasn’t on my mind at all but the minute we got back to California I was feeling it again.