By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — BEVERLY — Angela Miller advanced again on “American Idol” last night despite what judges said was a lackluster performance on Wednesday’s show.
The 19-year-old Beverly High School graduate has been something of a sensation so far, earning accolades from the judges and the viewing public alike, but her performance of The Miracles’ “Shop Around” on Wednesday night was criticized by all four judges.
Nevertheless, Ryan Seacrest announced last night that the viewing public had voted to keep her on as a contestant, making her one of seven finalists left on the popular show.
Earlier last night, commentator Jimmy Iovine specifically praised Miller for her “fantastic” performance with Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb on Wednesday — the trio sang “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” by Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations — but agreed with the judges that her solo performance hadn’t been up to par.
“The whole package was wrong,” he said. “She’s off-track at the moment.”
Previous “American Idol” contestant Colton Dixon performed during last night’s show, and afterward, Seacrest introduced him onstage to Miller, who had performed his “Never Gone” during an earlier show. When Seacrest asked for Dixon’s opinion of that performance, he replied, “She did great, better than OK. Killed it.”
Dixon placed seventh during last year’s competition; Miller now can’t place less than seventh in this year’s.
At the beginning of the show, Miller collaborated on a rendition of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” with the other finalists.
Miller lives on Essex Street and is the daughter of Guy and Tana Miller, co-pastors at the Remix Church in Salem. Her brother Jonathan is a member of the band Exiting the Fall.
She suffers 40 percent hearing loss in her left ear and 20 percent in her right because she is missing protective eardrum coverings. Miller previously had two surgeries to address the problem and was fitted with silicon spray ear plugs a month before her “Idol” audition in New York in September.
The finalists will perform again when Fox’s “American Idol” airs Wednesday at 8 p.m.