• Loren Javier

Congratulations to Maddie Poppe, 2018 Winner of American Idol


Photo: ABC Television

I wanted to congratulate Maddie Poppe who won the 2018 season of American Idol! I'm writing this mostly for me so that I can find her videos easier. LOL!


Anyway, I decided to watch American Idol this year on a lark. Actually, since it moved to ABC, I felt I should check it out to see how it did under the House of Mouse. I used to watch the show religiously through the first 10 seasons, but, stopped shortly after the original judges left the show. So, I was curious to see how the show would be handled under a new network with a whole new slate of judges - Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.


There were some hits and misses to the show. I thought it was bizarre that they had weeks and weeks of auditions, but the actual competition itself only lasted five weeks. They went from 14 to 10 to 7 to 5 to 3 to 1. I would have much rather they cut much of the audition process and did the traditional kind of elimination one at a time. Part of this is because I didn't think it was fair for some of the contestants to not have the opportunity to build a fan base in a competition is that is much a popularity contest as it is a talent competition. One of the criticism was that there was a lack of diversity in contestants. The judges actually chose a diverse slate, but, when left to the hands of the American public, people of color and LGBT contestants were almost immediately voted off.


I also think the live voting really hurt many of the contestants, especially if that contestant came at the end of the program. With only one commercial break before they ended voting at the end of the show, that person didn't get enough time for people to vote. And, if you don't watch programs live, as most people do not these days, you might not have gotten a chance to vote for your favorites. So, I hope these are things that the show will think about moving forward.


But, I did think that there were some amazing contestants on this week. Like I felt they all deserved to be there. In the early days, I rooted for and voted for four contestants - Ada Vox, the drag queen with the most powerful voice, nerd girl (and I mean that affectionately as a self described nerd myself) Catie Turner who's voice would surprise you, the adorable Michael J. Woodard with a fantastic R&B vibe and the young woman who would become American Idol - Maddie Poppe.


However, I loved Maddie Poppe from the beginning because her style - folksy singer-songwriter - is the type of music I listen to. Her audition song was "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie and its my favorite song. So, almost right away, she got my attention...




During Hollywood week, she performed "Dreams" by Brandi Carlile...



...and an original song "Don't Ever Let Your Children Grow Up" which showed me she had a talent for song writing.



But, it was her rendition of "Brand New Key" by Melanie during the Top 24 Week that really made me take notice. I couldn't get the song out of my head the entire week, but in a good way.



Also during Top 24 Week, the contestants had to perform a duet with an established performer. Here she performs "Bubbly" by Colbie Cailatt with the artist herself. I think the harmonies on this version are just beautiful and I like it even more than the original.



In the Top 14 Week, she performed "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkle. Absolutely beautiful...



Top 10 week was Judge's Choice and the judges quite wisely gave her "Walk Like An Egyptian" by the Bangles which showed she could interpret a different kind of song with her own folksy stamp...



For Disney Night, she delivered a fun and quirky version of "Bear Necessities" from The Jungle Book.



For Top 7 Week, the performers sang a song written by Prince. Maddie showed us she could play the piano while singing a mesmerizing version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" written by Prince for Sinead O'Connor...



They also had to sing a song from the year of their birth. She chose "If It Makes You Happy" by Sheryl Crow (which was popular after I graduated college. LOL).



In Top 5 Week, performers sang a song by past American Idol winner Carrie Underwood. Maddie sang "I Told You So" which was a great country song to choose that fits her, as Lionel Ritchie puts it, "wheelhouse."



Also during Top 5 Week, which was held on Mother's Day, the contestants sang songs dedicated to their mothers. Maddie chose to sing a haunting version of "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys. It was beautiful and nice to see her get choked up at the end knowing she was singing this to her mom.



And, now we got to the Final 3 Finale, the last chance for people to vote for the winner. The first song Maddie sang was "Going, Going, Gone" which would be her first post-American Idol single. She had the most ease with the song, maybe because she does write her own songs and knows how to perform them.



She then returned to her original song she sang during Hollywood Week - "Don't Ever Let Your Children Grow Up"...



And, finally, she sang "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. And, I LOVE A FLEETWOOD MAC SONG! So, good choice. A risky choice given that the original features Stevie Nicks' iconic voice. But, I thought she did a great job.



So, last night was when the results were given with lots of performances from various contestants. Maddie returned to the song she originally auditioned - "Rainbow Connection." This time, she got to sing it with the famous frog that popularized it. I loved that the stage looked like it stepped right out of the 1970s The Muppet Show. LOL



The Top 3 performed one last time together before one contestant was eliminated. The three sang "Meant To Be" with Bebe Rexha before we said good-bye to Gabby Barrett.



And, then there was two. But, before the two performed Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Over the Rainbow & What a Wonderful World," Caleb Lee Hutchinson revealed that the two of them were dating each other! #PlotTwist



And, finally, Maddie Poppe was named the winner! She was very emotional singing "Going, Going, Gone"which reminded me of Kelly Clarkson's tearful "One Moment Like This"from the first season. All the contestants and judges joined her on stage to help her.



So, there you have it. I am so happy for Maddie Poppe and know I will be buying her album when it comes out!

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