SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 16, 2013

From Beverly to 'American Idol'

Recent grad makes TV debut tonight

BY PAUL LEIGHTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — A year ago, Angela Miller was preparing for her role as Miss Dorothy Brown in Beverly High School’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Tonight, she’ll perform before a significantly larger audience. How does 20 million sound?

Miller, who graduated from Beverly High in June, is scheduled to appear tonight on “American Idol,” one of the country’s most popular television shows, as it begins its 12th season on Fox at 8 p.m.

Miller is one of 40 or so contestants who made it to the TV show out of the tens of thousands of singers who auditioned across the country.

Neither Miller nor her parents, Guy and Tana Miller, could be reached for comment. Contestants and their families are told by “American Idol” not to speak to the media in order to keep secret the names of the contestants who have made it this far in the singing contest.

But Miller’s name and face have been all over the Internet as one of the rumored “top 40” contestants, and she is one of three contestants who appear in a TV commercial that has been airing on Fox to promote this week’s season-premiere shows.

Yesterday, Beverly High School Principal Sean Gallagher sent an automated phone call to families of Beverly students urging them to watch Miller on tonight’s show and saying, “We’re all rooting for her to be the next ‘American Idol.’”

“I think the word is just starting to get out, and folks are looking forward to rooting for her,” said Beverly High School choral director Carolyn Pilanen-Kudlik, who had Miller as a student. “I know that music is a true passion for her, and she is very talented.”

The TV commercial, which says, “Could one of these singers be the next American Idol?” shows judge Nicki Minaj admirably telling a stunned Miller after one of her performances, “I don’t think you understand what you just did.”

Miller’s fame is apparently spreading already. A YouTube video of her singing Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” while playing the piano had more than 18,000 views in three days.

At Beverly High School, Miller was a member of the choir for four years and the honors vocal ensemble for two years. As a sophomore, she played one of the six sisters in the school musical “The Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Revue.” Last year, as a senior, Miller won the role of Miss Dorothy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Guy Miller, Angie’s father, is the pastor at the Remix Church, which holds services at Bentley Elementary School in Salem. Angela was to lead the music at last Sunday’s service, according to a post on the church’s Facebook page.

Angela Miller wrote on her Twitter page, “Through music I aim to show that loving God and being a good influence to others is my goal!! Always Dream Big.”

Pilanen-Kudlik said she’s not surprised that her former student has made the big leap from the high school stage to “American Idol.”

“Not at all,” she said. “I think she has what it takes to go the distance.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.