Neil H. Dempsey
---- — BEVERLY — Angela Miller’s smooth ascent on “American Idol” hit a rough patch last night when judges criticized her live performance of The Miracles’ “Shop Around.”
“You’re usually so right on. ... It was not right on tonight, it was not great,” said Randy Jackson, who added that her performance was “pitchy” and out of key.
“I think the melody kept pulling you down,” Keith Urban said.
But the 19-year-old Beverly High choir alumnus earned cheers for her performance during the Detroit-themed show, and audience members booed judges as they critiqued her work.
During a prerecorded segment shown earlier in the show, Miller worked with “Shop Around” songwriter Smokey Robinson and spoke about her inclination to branch out with the song.
“I really just need to show America my fun, crazy side,” Miller said.
The judges indicated that might have been unnecessary.
“I think you came out today to try to show a different side of Angie that didn’t need to be shown,” Nicki Minaj said. “Don’t try and come out and give us another side, we didn’t ask for another side yet.”
Earlier, Miller performed “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” by Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations with fellow contestants Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb. Mariah Carey said the song was a good exhibition of Miller’s “upper register.”
The viewing public will vote to decide which seven of eight current finalists will advance.
Those results will be announced during tonight’s show.
Miller, a former employee of Chick-fil-A at the Northshore Mall, turned down three music scholarships in order to try out for the show, which is now in its 12th season. She has already earned a spot on the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2013 this summer.
Her success on the show has been especially impressive because she suffers from 40 percent hearing loss in her left ear and 20 percent loss in her right due to missing protective covers on her eardrums.
It was unclear whether Randy Jackson was referring to that disability last night when he said, “I don’t know if you couldn’t hear in your ears.”
“American Idol” airs on Fox tonight at 8.