Latham teen advances on “American Idol” after powerful audition

The 518 music scene will be sharing another one of its fabulous musicians with the world as she appears on “American Idol” for at least another week.

Madison VanDenburg, 17, appeared on Sunday’s episode of “Idol” and auditioned with “Speechless,” a hit from country duo Dan + Shay. She made it through to Hollywood.

VanDenburg chose the country ballad because it had sentimental meaning to her, she said.

“I heard it on the radio, and it actually became the song my boyfriend and I use to describe us,” VanDenburg said. “In a way, it was a dedication to him.”

photo via North Colonie schools

Before the audition aired, VanDenburg posted a snippet of the audition to her Facebook page. The video showed celebrity judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan reacting positively to her singing, with Perry doing a double take and Bryan developing goosebumps.

“In the moment, I didn’t even see them do that,” she explained. “I was so into what I was doing. I knew this was my chance to prove how far I’ve come and what I have to offer.

“When I watched that clip back, I was shocked,” VanDenburg continued. “I couldn’t believe these stars like Luke and Katy were reacting that way.”

VanDenburg takes pride in her ability to sing ballads “decently well” — as she put it — and the ability to use her gift to sing music she’s passionate about.

“My ideal song to cover would be ‘I Surrender’ by Celine Dion,” the Modern Day Music School student said. “Celine Dion is one of my idols and I truly love her music and admire her voice.”

As VanDenburg navigates the notoriety “Idol” is already bringing her, she cannot forget where she started.

“Things only really started picking up about a year and a half ago,” she said. “Something people always say when you do something like this, ‘don’t forget me when you become a big star.’ But I could never — from my parents, who support this dream; my dad drove me to my audition. My friends and boyfriend who are so supportive — I could never forget the people who helped me get here. They’re the reason I’m still chasing this dream. I’m overwhelmed with how grateful I am for everyone.”

This article was originally published by The Spot 518, is property of Spotlight Newspapers in Albany, N.Y., and appears as a special to NYSMusic. TheSpot518 and NYSMusic work in partnership to provide readers with in-depth coverage on the local music scene in the Capital District and New York state, respectively. For more, visit

American IdolMadison VanDenburgmodern day music schoolthe spot 518