By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — BEVERLY — Angela Miller took another leap forward on “American Idol” last night when she sidestepped elimination to become one of only five contestants left on the popular show.
During a tense moment near the end of the hourlong episode, host Ryan Seacrest told the 19-year-old local favorite that viewers had voted to keep her on after her two performances on Wednesday night.
Although Miller was safe, Seacrest also divulged that she was not one of the week’s two top vote-getters — that distinction belonged to Kree Harrison and Candice Glover.
Seacrest did not say how many votes Miller received, or what rank she had attained in comparison to her peers, but he also announced that two other contestants — Lazaro Arbos and Amber Holcomb — were the week’s two bottom vote-getters, meaning Miller scored either third or fourth from the top — or the bottom.
On Wednesday, Miller met with mixed reviews for her performance of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart” — the judges said she lacked passion — but seemed to regain her footing with a second song, a rendition of Kari Jobe’s “Love Came Down.”
Comments about Miller’s earlier performances were sparse during last night’s show, although critic Jimmy Iovine did say she did a “very competent job” on the Jobe piece.
Miller is an Essex Street resident and a Beverly High School graduate who chose to forgo three college music scholarships in order to try out for “Idol.”
She also delayed a skin graft surgery that she needs to rectify a problem with her eardrums, which has left her with 40 percent hearing loss in the her left ear and 20 percent in her right. Miller previously had two surgeries to address the issue and was fitted with silicon spray ear plugs a month before her “Idol” audition last September.
Miller and the rest of the finalists — all of them now women — will perform again when Fox’s “Idol” airs on Wednesday at 8 p.m.