The New York native hopeful's stirring rendition of Dan + Shay’s hit “Speechless” blew all three “Idol” judges away, with Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie joining Perry in a standing ovation at the end. Richie directed VanDenburg back to the circle in front of them after she played the tender ballad and sang from behind the piano.
The “Hello” singer made her confirm her age is “really 16” as she stood before the judges to receive glowing feedback. VanDenburg said yes, she is only 16.
Katy Perry may have offered the biggest compliment of all when she said, “I thought there was a winner earlier today. There might be a winner now. I think you’re as good as Kelly Clarkson. You could be the next Kelly Clarkson.”
VanDenburg beamed at the high praise but was obviously shocked too as she said, “Oh my God, guys.” Bryan echoed Perry’s statement saying he felt like he was also “witnessing the next Kelly Clarkson.”
“American Idol” fans everywhere won’t soon forget the epic moment in which Clarkson was crowned the inaugural series winner in 2002. Her debut single “A Moment Like This” shot to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and went on to become the biggest-selling song of the year.
Clarkson is living proof to aspiring music artists around the world that dreams can come true. Her “Idol” win launched a massively successful music career which has spanned 17 years and produced multiple hits from eight studio albums. She’s won three Grammy Awards, written children’s books, is a coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” she’s currently touring on the Meaning of Life tour and will host her own talk show this fall.
Above all, Kelly Clarkson can sing just about anything, from pop to country to rock. It’s easy to understand Perry’s comparison of VanDenburg to Clarkson. She has a rich, beautiful voice and her performance of the popular wedding song was filled with colorful nuances.
It’s also worth noting VanDenburg received some impressive kudos on Twitter, garnering praise from season 16 “American Idol” winner (season one on ABC) Maddie Poppe who tweeted, “Wow. This girl is great. One of the most deserving stand ovations I’ve seen this season #americanidol.” And, Dan + Shay also loved her rendition of their song saying, “WOW. UNBELIEVABLE. @maddyvandenburg, you’re a star." Their tweet also contains hand clap emojis. (See their posts below).
“American Idol” is just getting its seventeenth season overall, second season on ABC underway, with last night's third episode. Watch Madison VanDenburg’s entire “Speechless” audition above.
“American Idol” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.
Wow. This girl is great. One of the most deserving stand ovations I’ve seen this season. #americanidol— Maddie Poppe (@MaddiePoppe) March 11, 2019