American Idol winner set for the grandstand stage at the Clay County Fair

Maddie Poppe

Homecoming season is just getting rolling at high schools and colleges across the country.

The Clay County Fair will have a homecoming all its own as American Idol winner and Clarksville native Maddie Poppe takes the stage in Spencer for the final of the fair’s SRG Concert Series.

The performance will take place Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. with tickets ranging from $23 for general admission bleacher seating to $33 for stage front standing.

“Maddie Poppe is perfect for a Saturday night family show at the grandstand,” said Jeremy Parsons, fair manager and CEO. “Being a small-town Iowa girl and American Idol winner makes for a unique showcase and made perfect sense to wrap up this year’s concert series.”

Poppe grew up in a musical family in Clarksville, a north-central Iowa community of about 1,500 people.

After initially thinking the instrument too difficult, Poppe picked up the guitar again in middle school and in her words, simply never put it back down.

Performances at coffee shops, farmers markets, and local fairs eventually led to auditioning for The Voice.

“I probably auditioned for The Voice four times and finally got on there, but it didn’t work out,” Poppe said. “But when I look back I’m really grateful for that. I wasn’t ready for all that yet. I started out being kind of country, then soft rock, then pop, I was all over the place, and that led me to where I am today.”

Where she’s at is in the early stages of a music career propelled exponentially forward by her winning run on the 16th season of American Idol.

Her distinct “storytelling voice,” as Idol judge Lionel Richie put it, won over judges and viewers alike, propelling her to the top spot by the end of the season.

“That was so much fun,” Poppe said of her experience on the show. “It was everything I thought it wasn’t going to be. As a reality show I thought they’re going to try to change me into something I’m not, but that wasn’t the case at all. They let you be yourself. I met so many awesome friends and made so many great relationships. Most importantly I was able to be myself and just have fun.”

Only once did she even entertain the thought that she could possibly be the season winner.

“I never felt that way. Each time I thought ‘ok this could be the last one’ but it just kept working out for me,” Poppe said. “Eventually at the end the only time I thought maybe I could win was when I made the top two, and even then it was just because I had a 50-50 chance.”

On the heels of the American Idol Live Tour, came the release of her first studio album, “Whirlwind,” back in May.

Three singles have been released so far including, “Made You Miss,” which hit #21 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart.

And now she’s back in her home state ready to put on a fantastic show for her fans, family, and friends.

“It’s always good to come home, to see everyone and to see all that support,” Poppe said. “I’m honored that the Clay County Fair asked me to perform. I’m very excited to come home and looking forward to it!”