American Idol had a star-filled night to commemorate the end of its latest season, in a three-hour extravaganza that was jammed with wall-to-wall performances. The finalists, past contestants, the judges, famous winners, and even those that didn't make the top 20 performed, and it felt like ABC booked just about everyone for the event. Well, everyone except its Season 16 winner Maddie Poppe, who only got to appear on stage briefly and promote her album.
So, why wasn't Maddie Poppe invited to perform? Variety cites an inside source saying that when the Season 16 winner reached out to inquire about performing, she was told the entire finale was booked. The news was surely surprising, as it was the first time in American Idol history the prior season's champ didn't perform in the finale. The news was said to be especially devastating to Poppe, who had timed the release of her album to drop days before the finale.
In lieu of a performance, Poppe stood alongside Ryan Seacrest and talked unscripted about her recently released album in a short segment midway through the show. It all seemed like a build up to a performance, but when the interview ended, things shuffled on without Maddie Poppe so much as singing a note. It was something American Idol fans noticed, as evidenced by the top liked reply to Ryan Seacrest's reference to the moment on Twitter.
To put the moment in perspective, Maddie Poppe's short on-air interview with no performance was the equivalent to what Season 17 joke auditioner Vokillz got during the Season 17 finale. There were even a handful of performances by contestants in Season 17 who didn't even make the Top 20, any of whom could've been scrapped for Poppe without American Idol fans making a ruckus.
As for what American Idol has said about the matter, a spokesperson noted that there is no rule that the prior season's winner has to perform. It's an odd statement, especially when the ABC program featured Season 16's third place contestant Gabby Barrett a few weeks prior to let her announce her new record deal and perform a single. Soon after, Maddie Poppe hinted online that she was a bit upset there had been no mentions of her upcoming album.
When a fan attempted to chastise Maddie Poppe for sounding a bit salty about not receiving an invitation like Gabby, Poppe indicated there was more happening behind the scenes than people were aware of.
Did Maddie Poppe do something to anger the American Idol producers? She was featured in the early episodes of Season 17, but it appears something happened between then and now that may have led to her being snubbed in the finale. Until the full story comes out, we're left to wonder why the ABC series shunned its inaugural season winner, and whether the two parties will reconcile down the road.
American Idol will return in 2020, although it could be with a new lineup of judges. Keep with CinemaBlend for more updates on how the new season will shake out, and for more major updates on what's happening between the show and Maddie Poppe.