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Beverly High School grad wows judges on ‘American Idol’ debut

Posted by Terri Ogan  January 17, 2013 03:55 PM

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Most striving musicians do not have a chance to showcase their talents before the likes of 'American Idol' judges Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson and Keith Urban.

But last night, 18-year-old Beverly resident Angela Miller got her chance in front of the judges and 18 million viewers on the Fox hit show, and now, she’s going to Hollywood.

“Angela, I haven’t felt that for the whole day,” Minaj said after Miller wrapped up her performance of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best.” “That thing, that makes me feel something in my soul.”

“I think you’re definitely one of the best we’ve seen today,” Jackson added. “I mean that was really, really good.”

Miller moved on to the next level with a trip to Hollywood.

Miller graduated from Beverly High School last May and at that point in her career was focusing on her role as Miss Dorothy Brown in the school’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

The show’s director, Carolyn Pilanen, said that Miller never showed up to rehearsal unprepared and never puts up a wall between herself and the audience, unlike most performers.

“She’s not afraid to just get out there and be with them,” Pilanen said. “Some performers think they have to look at the audience and imagine them in their underwear, but she really connects with the audience.”

Judge Keith Urban agreed, applauding her for “moving closer” to the judges’ table while she performed.

Pilanen added that Miller is very funny and silly when she’s not on stage. She’s able to laugh at her mistakes, yet is serious when necessary. Her natural talent, Pilanen said, is something that could take the young singer, actress and dancer, all the way.

What shocked Pilanen while watching her student’s performance last night, was when she admitted to having partial hearing loss in both of her ears, 40 percent in one ear and 20 percent in the other.

“You would never ever know it by her singing abilities,” Pilanen said. “I think normally it would make it hard for someone to sing in key with whatever music was playing, or sing in tune with other performers. Clearly that’s not an issue with her.”

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