Eastern Iowa native Maddie Poppe wows American Idol judges, makes top 14

A 20-year-old Eastern Iowan singer-songwriter with a penchant for ukulele and The Muppets has moved on as one of this season’s American Idol final 14 contestants.

Maddie Poppe is from Clarksville, Iowa,  a town of around 1,400 located between Waterloo and Mason City. American Idol’s first look at her was a unique one, when she sang “Rainbow Connection”, the song made famous by Kermit the Frog on the Muppet Movie, accompanying herself on the guitar.

This isn’t Poppe’s first go-around with big time singing competitions. Back in 2016, she auditioned for The Voice, but told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier “I was a terrible singer” at the song she was given to sing. “I’m not making excuses, I just wasn’t ready.”

She is getting a decidedly warmer reception from this year’s American Idol judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Ritchie. Her performance Sunday of “Brand New Key”, which vaulted her into the finals, resulted in Bryan calling her an “All-American” with Perry adding that her authenticity was “infectious.”

You can watch American Idol on Sunday and Monday nights at 7 p.m. on WQAD.

Starting next week, the public will be able to vote for their favorite artists. You can vote by downloading the American Idol app, online at ABC.com, and via text.