Arts & Culture

Maddie Poppe heads to Clarksville after securing spot in 'American Idol' finals

Tuesday evening parade, concert will honor Iowa finalist

Maddie Poppe of Clarksville performs April 22 on ABC’s “American Idol.” Sunday night, she was named as one of three finalists — with the winner to be anounced May 21. (Eric McCandless/ABC)
Maddie Poppe of Clarksville performs April 22 on ABC’s “American Idol.” Sunday night, she was named as one of three finalists — with the winner to be anounced May 21. (Eric McCandless/ABC)

Clarksville’s Maddie Poppe is in the finals of “American Idol,” and the television show will come to Iowa on Tuesday to visit her hometown.

“It’s a little hectic,” said Clarksville Mayor Val Swinton, “but this is a huge deal for us. We finally get to see her after all these months.”

After Poppe was named to the top three Sunday night, a 25-member organizational committee met for a late night of planning at the Clarksville Public Library.

“We are anticipating a huge crowd for the parade and most will head over to Allison for the concert afterward,” where organizers are expecting 6,000 in attendance, Swinton said.

“As soon as the show was over and we knew Maddie was moving on, we were working until almost midnight to figure out traffic, how many Porta Pottys we would need, that kind of thing.”

Swinton called Poppe’s “American Idol” success a “huge feather in the cap for Clarksville. She has become a major source of pride in our community.”

The top five contestants performed live Sunday night, but only three moved on to next week’s two-part finale: Poppe, Gabby Barrett and Caleb Lee Hutchinson.

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All five contestants opened the show singing Carrie Underwood’s song “See You Again,” with Underwood joining them halfway through the performance. Each then performed two songs, one Carrie Underwood hit, and a song dedicated to their mothers.

Poppe, 20, performed “I Told You So” as her Carrie Underwood song. And she performed the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” as a tribute to her mom, Tonya.

The “American Idol” champion will be crowned next week. Footage from her hometown visit will be aired during the finals coverage.

The parade featuring Poppe begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday in downtown Clarksville. It will run down Prospect Street to Main Street to Superior Street. No parking will be allowed on the streets in that area, the mayor said.

Poppe will ride the parade route in a convertible, with her parents in a convertible directly behind. Her grandparents will follow that car in a limousine.

“We are going to have our high school marching band out there, our fire trucks and ambulance, our drill team. It’s going to be so exciting for us,” Swinton said. “It’s just a blast. Everybody is so thrilled over this.”

The parade will be followed by a free concert at 6:30 p.m. at the Butler County Fairgrounds in Allison. Space is limited to first-come, first-serve.

“There’s going to be a large crowd headed that way with some heavy traffic,” Swinton warned, and asked that drivers be patient and careful.

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Organizers said the event will happen at the grandstand rain or shine. Food and water will be available to buy. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed.

Swinton said he wouldn’t be at all surprised if Poppe is named “American Idol’s” winner next week.

“I think her odds are great,” he said. “Of course I’m biased, but I think the judges have a soft spot for Maddie. They just seem to save some of their warmest comments for Maddie. ... She has the most natural talent and her stage presence just keeps improving.”

The “American Idol” faceoff performances are on ABC-TV beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday The winner will be announced in the season finale at 7 p.m. May 21.

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