Maddie Poppe was named winner of “American Idol.“
ABC’s reboot was entertaining. From the judges to a talented group of finalists, the show proved it still has what it takes to produce a star.
The two-night finale showcased the top three: Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett and Maddie Poppe. Top 10 finalists were phenomenal. It was a difficult task when it came to voting. I thought America made some mistakes along the way, but with such a strong group of contestants vying for the top honor, it was anyone’s to lose.
Hutchinson’s traditional country vocal sound made him a favorite, and his story of personal discovery was impressive. Barrett was a front-runner for several weeks. She’s a cross between Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, with just enough Tanya Tucker grit to be her own.
But Poppe was who I favored the most. I think it’s because she doesn’t mind being herself. The songs she chose fit her the best, even if they weren’t vote-getting current tracks like most try to cover. I can see the value in performing a current song, but Poppe has a way of picking songs from yesteryear and making you love them again. I loved her covers of “Homeward Bound” and “Brand New Key” best. I believe they made people fall in love with her charm.
Night one of the finale gave the top three a final chance to prove their talent and convince people to vote. Each performed three tracks, including new singles. For the first time in an “Idol finale,” I wasn’t that impressed with the singles the contestants were given. Hutchinson’s “Johnny Cash Heart” fell flat for me. Barrett’s “Rivers Deep,” was too Lambert-ish. Poppe got “Going Going Gone.” Her song fit her perfectly.
She also performed an original, “Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up.” It could become a single down the road.
“Idol” gave them enough air time in the past few months to connect with fans, music lovers and record execs.
The winner of “American Idol” this season will get a deal with Hollywood Records. I think several of the top 10 will get some sort of contract, including Michael J. Woodard, Cade Foehner, Catie Turner and Jurnee.
Night two was more fun. Lionel Richie opened the finale with “All Night Long.” All three judges, including Lionel, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan were great. Several big-name acts took the stage to perform with the Idol contestants.
Poppe’s hometown visit was moving. It’s obvious she’s a likable person. The proud look on her dad’s face said it all — the two played music together since she was a girl growing up in Clarksville, Iowa. He knew what his daughter was capable of doing before she did. I loved that they used to play at area nursing homes.
The reboot of “American Idol” seemed to be a success. ABC has renewed the show for a second year.
Until then, my hope is we’ll see and hear a lot more of Maddie Poppe in the months ahead.
— David T. Farr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.