'Hypnotic' Maddie Poppe is first Iowan to advance to 'American Idol' finals
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Iowan Maddie Poppe advanced to the finals of “American Idol,” marking the first time a Hawkeye has ever gone this far on the reality singing juggernaut.
“Maddie’s voice is even more hypnotic in person,” said Carrie Underwood, the most successful American "Idol" ever, who returned for the penultimate episode of the renewed vocal competition.
“Every week, Maddie is gaining some confidence in her own ability,” Underwood added.
In addition to making it to the Top 3 show next Sunday, Poppe’s entry into the finals means that she will host a hometown hero celebration, rally and concert in Clarksville on Tuesday evening.
Throughout the show’s run, Poppe has stood out with her singer-songwriter vibe, eccentric style and her unique combination of vocals, guitar, piano and ukulele — which she told the Register early on was always part of her plan.
“My strategy, so far, has been to pick weird, quirky, unique songs that no one else wants to do that make me stand out," she said. "Song choice is huge in this show. We have had several people pick the same song, but I have picked different songs that no one else has thought to sing and I think that is helpful.”
From our archives:Kyle Munson: Maddie Poppe’s voice stops RAGBRAI riders in their tracks
And she continued to embrace her quirkiness on Sunday’s episode, singing offbeat renditions of “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys, her Mother’s Day selection, and “I Told You So” by Underwood.
“I thought maybe I was at your concert, all of time stood still,” “Idol” judge Katy Perry said after Poppe's first performance.
“I just want to hear a record of yours,” said Perry, who last week told Poppe that she just might win this season of the show.
The winner of “American Idol” Season 16 must have the total package: Personality, presence, performance and sound, the judges concurred at the beginning of Sunday's episode.
"I am so proud of you and this journey has been an amazing one for you," Bryan said.
For Poppe's part, her progress on the show has been one of picking up more and more confidence along the way.
"When I got to Hollywood Week, I looked around that room and I just thought, 'I don’t know how I am going to stand out,'" Poppe said. "But along the way, I found who I wanted to be."