“American Idol” Top 8 performances will air at 8 p.m. Sunday on ABC, with 17-year-old Cohoes resident Madison VanDenburg right in the thick of things.
VanDenburg has steadily gained fans throughout the competition with her strong singing voice and improved stage presence.
This week, James Murphy from the website sportsinsider.com posted the winning odds for the remaining singers, with VanDenburg tied for second favorite at 3-1 odds along with Alejandro Aranda. The favorite is Laine Hardy at 5-2 odds.
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon was next at 6-1, Laci Kaye Booth and Walker Burroughs were at 7-1 and Alyssa Raghu and Wade Cota trailing at 15-1 odds.
Last Sunday, VanDenburg, a junior at Shaker High School, survived another elimination stage (from 10 contestants down to 8), and on Monday night’s show (“Idol” has been airing on consecutive nights, Sunday and Monday) fans got to see the Top 8 singers off stage as “Idol” visited their hometowns and met family members.
Viewers learned the following about VanDenburg:
-- Fans of the show have been asking her to wear something different than the dark-colored clothing she has appeared in. “Just wait — I’m gonna wear some poppin’ colors,” said VanDenburg.
-- As a youngster, the first song she performed on stage was Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”
-- She has been a fan of NASCAR auto racing for a long time (“My whole family loves NASCAR,” she said) and won the local Soap Box Derby competition in Albany one year (as reported in The Daily Gazette earlier this month). “I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m not going to be a NASCAR driver,” laughed VanDenburg, “so ‘American Idol’ is really my last shot here.”
-- She has something else on her mind besides “Idol.” “It’s prom season,” said VanDenburg. She has been out shopping at local stores with her mom for a prom dress — when not performing in Hollywood,.
-- The comparison to Kelly Clarkson has been more than flattering for the singer. “Kelly has been the biggest inspiration since I was little,” said VanDenburg. “After they compared me to [her] it made me super motivated.”
Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie have heaped praise on VanDenburg throughout the competition. Said Perry, “It’s just amazing that anyone with this much soul and tone and talent can come out of a 17-year-old.”
After the next round of performances, two singers will be eliminated by nationwide voting to trim the field to six. At stake is a recording contract and cash prize. The finalists are already assured of going on tour with “American Idol Live.” It was announced Wednesday that the contestants will perform songs by the rock group Queen this Sunday while being coached by frontman Adam Lambert.
“To make it to the finale of ‘American Idol’ is everything that I ever dreamed of,” said VanDenburg.
“American Idol” has seen improved ratings this season in its second year on ABC, but its viewership has declided sharply since its early years on Fox. The show drew an average of 30 million viewers a week from 2005 to 2007. Increased competition from streaming, cable and the Internet has affected ratings.