, Salem, MA

Local News

May 6, 2013

'Idol' homecoming

Thousands pay tribute to Beverly contestant


After a stop at the high school to get in a quick rehearsal for the concert, Miller headed downtown for the parade. Led by a firetruck and the high school band, the parade featured Miller sitting on the back of a convertible between her mother, Tana, and brother, Jonathan.

Crowds lined Cabot Street two- and three-deep in some places, and some people even sat on rooftops. One man stood on a ladder and held a “Love Jesus” sign. As the parade moved along, hundreds of people moved with it, staying as close to Miller as they could. Police on bicycles had to keep warning people not to get too close to her car.

The parade rolled under a huge banner stretched across Cabot Street that said, “The City of Beverly Loves Angie,” and passed the Cabot Cinema, where the marquee had been changed from the name of the current movie to “Welcome Home Angie, Beverly Loves Our American Idol.”

Signs were everywhere. Bill Jedrey stood at the corner of Cabot and Herrick streets holding up a bedsheet attached to two poles. He said he took a couple of days to paint the message, “It’s Miller Time,” with a Beverly Panther paw print dotting the “i.”

Miller spent the entire parade waving, smiling, and pointing to signs and people she knew.

At the high school, a huge crowd had already gathered for the concert, which would ultimately start nearly two hours late. Mary Ulrickson, a 67-year-old retired teacher, and Buffy Little, a 57-year-old teacher’s aide, had driven two hours down from Maine to see Miller, but they didn’t mind the wait.

“We came because we’re die-hard ‘American Idol’ fans and there has never been a top three contestant close enough for us to see,” Ulrickson said. “Thursday night (when Miller made the final three on the show), we just decided, ‘We’re driving to Beverly.’”

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