What happened to DSDS winner Maddie Poppe?

The American Idol singing competition show has turned its contestants into some of the biggest stars in the music industry today. Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson are some of the many singers who can credit the show with launching their careers.

Singer-songwriter Maddie Poppe originally auditioned for “The Voice Talent Recap” but was turned down during the audition phase because all four judges didn’t turn their chairs. “I got totally rejected on national television and it was really embarrassing,” Poppe told Deseret News in 2019. “It was so discouraging, and I was like, ‘Man, if these people don’t like me, nobody will.’ “

However, Poppe was not discouraged by this rejection. She then auditioned for the 16th season of “American Idol.” Poppe made it to the finals alongside Caleb Lee Hutchinson and country music star Gabby Barrett. Poppe then became the first Iowan to win the show.

Maddie Poppe struggled after winning American Idol

After her success on American Idol, Maddie Poppe immediately started working on new music. She appeared on the show in 2019, and like the competitive show with most alumni, Poppe was hoping “American Idol” would pocket her new album, Variety. However, the show reportedly “ran out of time” before they could announce Poppe’s new music.

The singer expressed her frustration on social media. “I was waiting for ‘ALSO from last week, our season 16 winner has an album coming out May 17th’…” Poppe explained in a tweet. It was also mentioned that she would not be coming back to perform her new single during the finale as the show was “booked out”.

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But that wasn’t the only thing the singer struggled with. Poppe spoke about the difficulties she faced as a music artist in the summer of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, per People. Poppe said she was dropped from her record label, lost all motivation to write songs and didn’t know what she wanted for her career. That wasn’t the end of her time in the spotlight, however.

New single, new music video, new beginning

Things are looking up for the “American Idol” winner. Following the release of her first studio album in 2019, Maddie Poppe toured with singer Ingrid Michaelson, per Us Weekly. Poppe also released a new single called “One That Got Away” with its own music video.

“I wanted to evoke the same feelings in the music I put out that I would get from listening to some of my favorite artists,” Poppe told People of the song in May. “But it took me some time to get there. There were times when I was really frustrated. But then we ended up with this song and I knew this was it.”

Poppe stars in the music video alongside her boyfriend Caleb Lee Hutchinson, who came second on her season of American Idol. The two became friends on the show, announced their relationship in the season finale, and have been together ever since Country Now. Both Poppe and Hutchinson appeared in a special “American Idol” episode to celebrate the show’s 20th season.