Ever since her first audition, Madison VanDenburg has been a standout on American Idol. Often drawing comparisons to Kelly Clarkson, her powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence are reminiscent of the early seasons of Idol.
But there’s a lot about the teen vocalist you don’t know! Here are 10 facts about the up-and-coming Idol star.
#1: Madison VanDenburg is a 17-year-old from Cohoes, New York. She is currently in 11th grade, attending Shaker High School in Latham, New York.
#2: Madison has been singing and playing piano and guitar for most of her life. She also played flute in her school band. At 10 years old, Madison found her talent for singing doing karaoke. Her all-time favorite song to cover at the time was, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.
#3: In sixth grade, Madison performed the lead role in her school’s play, Annie. The standing ovation from the crowd is what pushed her to pursue her passion for singing. Because of that experience, she began seriously pursuing music as a possible career path. She has been singing, playing instruments, and “gigging” ever since, often at her dad’s restaurant!
#4: Growing up, Madison also used to race soap box derby cars! When she was 8, she won the Capital District Soap Box Derby in Albany, New York. That win earned her a spot to compete at the All-American Soap Box Derby World Championships. She says that was “as close as she’ll ever get to being a NASCAR driver.”
#5: Madison is family friends with fellow American Idol contestant this season, Moriah Formica! You may recognize Moriah from The Voice as well. She was a member of Team Miley in Season 13. The two even share the same vocal coach.
#6: Madison Vandenburg originally auditioned for American Idol on the Idol bus tour! There, she sang “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood. And clearly it worked! The producers passed her along from there and she auditioned in front of the judges with “Speechless” by Dan + Shay.
#7: On the show, Madison admitted that it was cold when she auditioned for Idol outside, so she was actually wearing her boyfriend’s jacket when she sang!
#8: American Idol isn’t the first time Madison has been recognized for her vocals. In 2017, she placed first at the CASA Proctors Talent Show. The competition is part of an event that raises money to help abused and neglected children. She returned again this year to perform and sing the national anthem.
#9: If you like Madison on Idol, you can listen to her off the show too! Madison has already released a debut single, “Need a Little Heartbreak,” available everywhere you steam and listen to music. She has a YouTube channel as well, where she has posted cover videos before. Now, Madison is writing songs for her very first EP.
#10: About her plans after Idol, Madison said, “Honestly, I just really want to go on tour, maybe as an opener. Even if I’m not big enough to go on my own tour, I’d love to open and travel, and I’d love to release an album. I’d love to write and really just see where this all takes me.”
If you want to learn even more about Madison VanDenburg (and see her original audition), it’s all in the video below.