In 2002, singer/songwriter Kelly Clarkson got her start as the breakout contestant on the first-ever season of “American Idol.”
When audiences first saw Kelly it was clear that this talented singer was going places. After her career took off, “Idol” judges carried on in their mission to find the next big superstar to fill her shoes. All these years later, season 17 of the popular talent show featured a young woman whose talent is so noteworthy that judge Katy Perry compared her to none other than Kelly herself.
Madison VanDenburg is a sixteen-year-old 11th grader at Shaker High School in Latham, New York. She caught the performing bug when she was in sixth grade and earned her first standing ovation for singing a song in the musical “Annie.” She then went on to write her own songs and perform at her father’s restaurant and other venues in her hometown.
Now that she’s standing in front of “Idol” judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie, Madison is ready to make those childhood dreams come true. While chatting with the judges Madison explains that she also plays guitar and piano, so for her version of “Speechless” by Dan and Shay she has decided to accompany herself on piano as well.
The minute Madison sits down at the baby grand piano and begins to sing, it’s as if the air has been sucked out of the audition room. The judges quickly begin exchanging “Are you hearing this?!” glances.
Madison’s voice is soulful and strong, completely different from what we’d expect from a young teenage singer. She sings the song as if she’s had decades more life experience than a teen her age could possibly have, and halfway through both Katy and Luke raise their arms up to indicate they’ve gotten goosebumps from her incredible voice.
When she’s finished all three judges jump up to give her a standing ovation — talk about coming full circle from when she was back in 6th grade! Lionel even pretends to be angry with her, firmly asking, “How old are you really?”
“Do you know what you just did?” Lionel continued. “You rendered us speechless to the point where Katy is showing me goosebumps on her arm.”
Nodding, Katy admits that after watching countless auditions for weeks, she was starting to feel a bit jaded.
“It’s my first goosebumps. I really thought I had lost all feeling for some reason,” Katy said. “I’m so glad that you gave me back a pulse.” Then Katy drops the bombshell comment that all “Idol” contestants dream of hearing. “I think you’re as good as Kelly Clarkson. You could be the next Kelly Clarkson. You’re a massive star.”
“Katy said it. I’m witnessing the next Kelly Clarkson,” Luke agreed. The look on Madison’s face is priceless!
After giving Madison her golden ticket to Hollywood the judges even told her she could go on to win the whole show, and we couldn’t agree more! This young lady’s talent is so effortless it feels like she is predestined for greatness. We can’t wait to say that we knew her when.
Watch “the next Kelly Clarkson” during her standout audition in the video below, and don’t forget to share!
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