Maddie Poppe is one of several “American Idol” superstars who will appear on the 20th anniversary special “The Great Idol Reunion” Monday night.

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Who is ‘American Idol’ winner Maddie Poppe?

It’s been six years since Maddie Poppe, a small-town girl from Iowa, got rejected on national TV.

Auditioning for “The Voice,” the indie-pop/folk singer had failed to grab the attention of all four coaches: Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams. 

  • “It was really embarrassing,” Poppe previously told the Deseret News. “It was so discouraging, and I thought, ‘Man, if these people don’t like me, then no one will.’” 

But Poppe didn’t stop trying.

Instead, she took her music to a different stage — “American Idol.” And, unlike “The Voice,” she won over all of the judges.

And all of the viewers, too.

Poppe ended up winning “American Idol” in 2018 — an outcome that came as a shock to her considering her first appearance on national TV.

  • “I was kind of afraid of winning. I wasn’t expecting it first off, and secondly, I was kind of afraid of what was to come, because you hear stories about these people winning and then getting tied down in all these contracts and not having any freedom,” Poppe told the Deseret News in 2019. “I was worried they were going to try and make me into this pop princess. But everyone’s given me so much freedom, and it’s not been anything like I thought.” 

What is ‘American Idol’ winner Maddie Poppe up to now?

A year after winning “Idol,” Poppe released her debut album, “Whirlwind.” She released a Christmas EP in 2020 but has remained relatively quiet since then.

  • “There were so many times I felt I had the rug pulled out from under me. Like the minute any momentum had built up, it came crumbling back down,” Poppe recently said, according to Broadway World. “From losing team members to seeing crucial opportunities fall through, I found myself feeling so helpless and thinking, ‘How am I going to do this on my own?’ It felt like I was standing at the bottom of a mountain I was too afraid to climb.
  • “It took some time, but I finally realized I didn’t have a choice, my fate was in my own hands,” she continued. “I had to face my fears, rise above.”

Now, Poppe, 24, has released her first original music in three years. Last week, the singer-songwriter released her single “One That Got Away,” about the unraveling of a friend’s longtime relationship.

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  • “I’m very proud of ‘Whirlwind,’ but I feel like this new project speaks truer to me and my story,” Poppe said, according to Broadway World. “When you’re just starting out like I was then, it can feel like 100 different people are trying to tell your story. Now, I’m finally telling it in my own voice.”

Poppe will also appear on the “American Idol” reunion show Monday night, performing alongside her “Idol” runner-up — and boyfriend — Caleb Lee Hutchinson. Poppe previously told the Deseret News she hopes her own road from “The Voice” to “American Idol” will inspire other singer-songwriters to not give up.

  • “I want people to know that even if you hear a ‘no’ from ‘American Idol,’ it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to make it,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough. It’s important to not give up.”