BEVERLY — Chick-fil-A’s loss was “American Idol’s” gain.
Angela Miller had just graduated from Beverly High School in June. She had turned down music scholarships from three colleges because she knew she was going to try out for the famous TV show.
She even gave up her job working at the fast-food restaurant at the Northshore Mall in Peabody.
“I have always watched ‘American Idol,’ and it’s always been a dream of mine to be on the show,” Miller said. “I just graduated from high school and haven’t started college. It’s the perfect time.”
‘Perfect’ turned out to be almost an understatement. The 18-year-old Essex Street resident’s ascension from food court to fame began spectacularly this week when she advanced to the next round of the reality-TV singing competition in Hollywood.
In a three-minute taped appearance during the “American Idol” season premiere Wednesday night, Miller drew praise from the four celebrity judges and prompted the Twitter world to proclaim her one of the favorites to win the entire competition. The show was seen by 17.8 million people, according to Nielsen ratings.
Back home in Beverly, Miller called the experience “overwhelming” and “amazing.”
“I’ve been watching it so long on TV, and then being there, it didn’t feel real,” she said. “Even watching the audition (on tape) it still feels like a dream. I wasn’t expecting so much enthusiasm and love from (the judges). When Randy (Jackson) said I was one of the best of the day, I said, ‘Are you kidding?’”
Miller’s success is not entirely surprising considering her background. She is the daughter of ordained ministers and grew up singing and performing in the church. Her older brother, Jonathan, 20, is a member of the band Exiting The Fall.