The some 300 people at Shaker High School went crazy Sunday night when Madison VanDenburg’s name was called as one of the finalists on American Idol.
“Thank you. Top three. I don’t even know what to say, guys. But I can’t thank you enough, for every single person who voted for me tonight. I really can’t believe it,” the 17-year-old Shaker High junior and Cohoes native said on an Instagram post shortly before midnight. “You guys did this. Not me. The fan pages and the comments and supporters … you guys are truly incredible. No matter what happens next week at the finale, I hope I made you proud. I’m so happy and grateful, and I love you all, and I can’t wait to perform for you guys at the finale.”
On Tuesday, Shaker High will welcome VanDenburg back to town with a pep rally. And then the Town of Colonie will host a parade and a concert featuring VanDenburg at The Crossings. American Idol will be filming the “hometown visit” segment in the Capital District sometime this week.
“We are so excited. It is a wonderful, wonderful night for the town of Colonie, for North Colonie, for Madison for Madison’s family,” said a jubilant North Colonie Superintendent Joseph Corr. “We are so happy for a great student, a great girl, a wonderful talent … she is amazing.”
VanDenburg performed three songs Sunday, “What about Us,” by Pink, “Your Song” by Elton John and, and to honor one of her heroes on Mother’s Day, “Make you Feel my Love” by Adele.
American Idol featured a clip of VanDenburg and her tearful mom reading a heartfelt Mother’s Day note from her daughter. “To be here and see you performing. Your talent brings me to tears of joy. You are my hero,” her mom responded.
Students, faculty, town officials and a number of VanDenburg’s family were at the Shaker High auditorium, nervously watching the other performances and waiting with bated breath for the judges to announce the results of the live voting shortly before 10 p.m.
“It’s just awesome. I love it when she sings and I love the songs she makes and I love it when she is on TV singing,” said her 8-year-old cousin Isabella Concepcion, who was in the audience and hopes to sing like VanDenburg someday. “She really nice and kind and I just love her.”
The judges too, again, heaped praise on VanDenBurg.
“When you are singing that song you are singing it to your mom and I would have sounded awful and ugly. But you were so elegant and timeless and classic and beautiful,” said judge Katy Perry after the Adele tune.
“I have three words … pow-er house,” said judge Luke Bryan.
The pep rally is slated for about 1 p.m. and VanDenburg will be in attendance. The parade is scheduled for about 4:15 p.m., said Supervisor Paula Mahan said, with the concert immediately following.
“We are just so excited. This is just unbelievable. I can’t even speak,” Mahan said. “I know she appreciates all your support so let’s keep it going. She’s going to be number one.”
Voters also picked Laine Hardy and Alejandro Aranda on Sunday and the three will square off on Sunday, May 19, for a three-hour season finale. For the first time in American Idol’s 17 seasons, it will have live voting for the final round.