Almost four months into Fox's "American Idol," 17-year-old Lydia Hester still can't believe that she's watching one of her best friends perform on the big screen.
But the Beverly High School senior is proud of Angie Miller, 19, who has gone from performing on the stage at Beverly High to wowing an audience of over 10 million.
"Ang and I talked about her making it this far," Hester said. "But I never imagined it ... it's pretty crazy."
Now Hester will get to see her friend this weekend. The singer made the top three last night, meaning a big welcome home gathering Saturday, when a parade will be held in her honor at 3 p.m. followed by a ceremony and concert at Beverly High beginning at 4.
Hester gathered with 14 other Miller fans Wednesday night to support her friend, as she has done since the show kicked off its 12th season in January.
Munching on Doritos and sipping Sprite, their eyes stayed glued to the TV as Miller performed her own version of "Diamonds" by Rihanna, then "Someone to Watch Over Me" by Gertrude Lawrence and Ella Fitzgerald; a song that Miller said her mom always used to sing around the house.
"It's awesome, it's really cool," said Carly Moffie, 18, who has performed with Miller in high school plays, and hosts the viewing parties every week. "It's kind of hard for me to wrap my head around ... I still can't put 2 and 2 together that it's the same Angie that was here, that's on stage in front of millions of people on national television."
Although Miller has become famous through competing on "American Idol," Hester said she hasn't changed at all, something that she was concerned about.
Miller has has remained grounded throughout the journey, Hester said, using prayer to remember what the competition is all about.
"She's learned to be way more humble," Hester said.
Despite any negative feedback that Miller might get from the judges of the competition, her friends have her back.
Beverly High junior Rachel Lurie, 17, was in a chorus class with Miller and said "She's killing it."
"She's doing really well," Lurie said. "I think she's really rocking. She's got a shot."