Cohoes native Madison VanDenburg is on the cusp of superstardom. This past Sunday, VanDenburg breezed into a spot in the finale of Season 17 of ABC’s American Idol reboot. The Shaker High School junior gave incredibly moving performances of songs by Elton John, P!nk and Adele—not an easy lineup of singers to tackle—and again earned high praise from the show’s three judges, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.
The fever pitch surrounding the 17-year-old powerhouse vocalist will spill over to the Capital Region tomorrow (May 14), as VanDenburg will be making an appearance 30 minutes south of Saratoga Springs in Colonie, where she and her family now call home. With an American Idol production team in tow, VanDenburg will be filming her “Hometown Heroes” segment for the show. And the Town of Colonie isn’t missing out on this opportunity to celebrate the triumphant return of the talented and budding local star. “Madison’s dream is coming true, and we’re so proud of her,” says Paula Mahan, the Town of Colonie’s Supervisor. “There’s a real buzz around here, and everyone’s calling and emailing, and it’s getting very exciting.” For Shaker students and faculty, North Colonie Central Schools have planned a special pep rally at the high school on Tuesday at 1:30pm, where VanDenburg will speak about her experience on the show. Also on Tuesday, and open to the public, is a parade celebrating VanDenburg that will begin at 4:15pm at Metro Park Road and make its way to The Crossings of Colonie, where VanDenburg will give a free performance for the community at around 5pm. Idol‘s production team will be present filming the whole thing, so Capital Region fans might just grab a little airtime on one of America’s most popular shows. “I’ve been here twelve years, and this is the biggest event that I can think of that’s come to Colonie,” says Mahan.
VanDenburg auditioned for Idol in October 2018 and was one of 40 contestants invited to Los Angeles to compete in Season 17 of the popular prime-time show and singing competition, which began airing in early March. (Fifteen seasons of Idol aired on Fox before switching to ABC in 2018.) So far, VanDenburg has received consistent and, at times, effusive acclaim from the show’s judges. During her initial audition, judge Katy Perry even compared VanDenburg to the most famous former Idol: “You could be the next Kelly Clarkson,” she said.
The star-in-the-making from Upstate New York has been receiving the same kind of support and praise from her community. On Sunday, May 5, Cohoes Music Hall hosted a viewing party in support of VanDenburg, and there have been several other viewing parties at Shaker, including one for last night’s episode during which the Cohoes native even called in and spoke to fans via video. Shaker’s hosting a public viewing party for the finale this Sunday, May 19. “My prediction is that she’s going to make No.1,” says Mahan. “She’s just that good.”