Maddie Poppe may have seemed surprised that she won American Idol, but in reality, she knew she was the winner of the ABC reality show even before host Ryan Seacrest said her name. In an interview with Access, Poppe admitted that she accidentally got an early heads-up about her big Idol win a few seconds before host Seacrest announced that she beat out boyfriend Caleb Lee Hutchinson to be the new Idol champion.
Maddie revealed that she saw her name on the card that the longtime American Idol host was holding and that the letters were so big it was impossible not to see her name clearly printed as the winner. Poppe admitted that while she didn’t usually look down at the card that Seacrest holds before the show’s weekly eliminations, on finale night she did—and she was able to make out the text. Poppe told Access the following.
“That night the card was so big and my name on it was huge. So I looked over at Caleb and then I couldn’t help but look down at the card and I saw my name.”
While Maddie Poppe had a millisecond of a heads up for her American Idol win, the 19-year-old singer still seems to be stunned by the fact that she won the show. Maddie told Access it all still feels like “a dream.”
Shortly after her name was announced the 16th winner of American Idol, Maddie posted to Instagram to recount her journey on the show. Poppe thanked America for believing in her and admitted that just a year ago she was lost and uncertain how she would be able to make her dream of being a singer happen for herself.
“I cried and worried and wondered if this dream would ever pan out for me. So many times I contemplated giving up, but at the last second my saving grace came through when @americanidol dropped into my life,” Maddie wrote.
Maddie Poppe added that one of the biggest gifts she received from her American Idol experience is new boyfriend Caleb Hutchinson, who landed as her runner-up on the TV talent competition. Maddie and Caleb began dating almost immediately after they met during Hollywood Week in January and kept their relationship a secret until the American Idol finale.
“This guy captured my heart from the start and showed me what love truly means,” Poppe wrote.
You can see Maddie Poppe talking to Access about her accidental American Idol heads up in the video below.