Angie Miller did it right when she sang “Yesterday.”
So much could have gone wrong with this song. It’s one of the simplest of Beatles songs, and virtually everyone knows at least some of the words. The basic tune is simple and pretty — you can’t over-sing “Yesterday” like you can some songs. Restraint and sadness are the operative words.
Those are not words you usually associate with an “American Idol” singer like Angie Miller. The girl is upbeat and perky pretty much all of the time. She smiles a lot. And we know that Angie can sing-out like microphones were never invented. There was a very good chance that this singer could butcher “Yesterday” with a diva-like performance.
Instead we got about as close to perfection as possible. There were a few show-off notes, but Angie kept them contained. Throughout the song, the sadness of loss was easily felt. Honestly, if you had never seen Angie Miller perform before tonight, you would never think of “perky” in connection to the singer.
It was great.
The judges agreed, of course. Keith Urban declared “Yesterday” his favorite Beatles song (beating out “Eleanor Rigby,” an earlier selection of the night) while praising Angie’s interpretation. Randy Jackson pointed out the true brilliance of Angie’s singing: “You pulled back and you held back and you emoted from your heart.” Angie’s understanding of her material impressed Mariah Carey: “You did a very respectful version of the song.” Nicki Minaj, meanwhile, outdid herself in hyperbole, declaring Angie fit for Disney-movie soundtracks or whatever she wants. “You could do anything with your voice. You are amazing!” Minaj gushed.
In a night of mixed performances — some of which were excellent — Angie Miller truly did Paul and John proud.