The current season of American Idol has so many talented contestants, it's really hard to root for just one. But if we had to, we suppose we'd think about our New York roots and back 17-year-old Madison VanDenburg from our home state.
The Latham, New York native is currently a junior at Shaker High School, but that's not all there is to know about Madison. She's been training in elite musical groups and has taken singing, piano, and guitar classes all her life.
So, what's Madison's story?
Madison started taking singing seriously when she found herself playing karaoke at the age of 10. She would cover Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" until she discovered Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," which is when her talent started turning heads.
The following year, she was cast as the eponymous lead in the school musical production of Annie. According to her bio, "As soon as she finished her lead solo, the crowd reacted with a standing ovation. This important moment in her life also helped her acknowledge her new passion." She realized that she loved performing in public and became energized by the audience's reaction.
Madison taught herself music business skills by performing at her father's restaurant. "She loved the hard work and dedication that came along with performing, and discovered that music is what she was born to do," her bio goes on to say.
These days, in addition to competing on American Idol — which is obviously no small feat — the teen is enjoying the satisfaction of having recently released her debut single, "Need A Little Heartbreak." She's working on songs for her first EP, and we're sure we're going to be seeing a lot more of Madison in the coming years.
Madison isn't the only Shaker High student you'll recognize from recent TV.
According to a recent interview Madison gave on her way to school (literally, from the school bus), Madison opened up about another famous alum TV singing competition show fans might recognize.
We're talking about Moriah Formica, who was also 17 when she appeared as a contestant in The Voice. Moriah and Madison are family friends and have been since childhood, and the two even share the same vocal coach, Lesley O'Donnell. Along with Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Alicia Keys, Madison cites Moriah as one of her influences.
Follow Madison on social media.
Madison is very active on her Facebook page, Instagram page, and Twitter account. And she also posts a bunch of videos you'll want to see — of her covering everyone from Adele to Beyonce — on her YouTube page.
About the American Idol experience, she told Johnny Ray that it was "very intimidating because you're always around other contestants," but she overcame her anxiety by simply getting "in [her] zone and doing what [she] loves to do, which is playing music and singing."
How far does Madison make it on American Idol? (SPOILERS)
Madison's going to make it pretty far, if our insider spoilers are correct, so viewers won't have to say bye to the 17-year-old New Yorker just yet. After wowing judges in the showcase round and advancing to the Top 20, she continues to blow the minds of audiences and judges with her cover of Jessie J.'s "Domino." Once celebrity singers and thrown in the mix, we'll get to see her sing "We Belong" with none other than songwriter Pat Benatar.
At that point, Madison's fate will be left in your hands. Don't miss American Idol on ABC, Sundays at 8 p.m.