The prospect of some bilious back-and-forth between judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj is one reason to tune in to the new season of “American Idol.” Listening to 18-year-old Angela Miller is another.
Miller, who graduated from Beverly High School last year, was among the highlights of Wednesday’s season premiere, and she seems a good bet to hang around for a while, just as Barnstable’s Siobhan Magnus did a few years back.
What makes Miller so compelling, aside from her considerable pipes, is the fact that she has hearing loss in both ears. And still, her version of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best” slayed the “Idol” judges.
“It was definitely intimidating and nerve-racking,” Miller told us before Wednesday’s show, which she watched surrounded by friends and family in Beverly. “But it just pushed me to do even more and better.”
Miller has been singing since she was a little girl — she prefers soulful R&B and pop like Beyoncé — and hopes to make a career in music. Her parents are pastors of the Remix Church in Salem, where Miller has sung occasionally, and she was in several high school productions, including a turn as Miss Dorothy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
But that’s a far cry from standing alone in front of TV cameras and singing for superstars like Carey, Minaj, and Keith Urban . Miller told us she’s been watching “American Idol” for a long time, and has learned a little bit along the way.
“It’s not just about having a good voice. It’s also how you carry yourself. You really need to be the whole package,” she said. “You can tell the people on previous seasons who had good voices but nothing really to them. I want people to relate to me.”
So far, so good.