Maddy Curtis update

Maddy Curtis update February 12, 2010

Maddy Curtis, the 16-year-old from around here who became an “American Idol” contestant whom I have been blogging about was cut in the Hollywood round.  Ironically, that happened the very day her initial Boston audition was aired, so that her acclaim began at the very time as her disappointment.  Her  mom blogs about the whole experience, emphasizing how God is using all of this:

Well now you dear friends know what we were not allowed to reveal for the last month: Maddy did not make it through the Hollywood rounds.

In fact, what was ironic was that she was being cut at precisely the time the Boston auditions were airing on January 12. While I think she would have kept her composure, the cameras and interviewers have a tendency to needle you until you lose it. . . .

Maddy stopped crying in the elevator. We went up to our room and watched the Boston auditions – which we hadn’t seen – on YouTube.

Maddy was brushing her teeth when there was a knock on our door and I peeped out the peep hole and saw a camera crew. We didn’t answer. Maddy went to sleep peacefully and I stayed up all night reading emails.

Around 2 am, a paper was slipped under our door with our flight information for the next morning. No one ever came to say goodbye – even the producers who had seemed to love Maddy. It was a cold and disconnected feeling, and yet we felt connected to a larger world as in LAX people recognized Maddy and said hello.

For unbelievers, it might be hard to understand the peace with which Maddy and I traveled home. We knew God had accomplished some amazing things – some which we would find out about and some which we would never know. As they continue to be revealed, I will continue to share with you. But even that night, we felt like she had accomplished something special.

I am very grateful to American Idol for representing our daughter so well – though the way they clipped her song made no sense at all. I will be posting the song “The Nearness of You” – which Maddy sang at her Haiti Benefit – in a few days on YouTube. She executed the Ella Fitzgerald classic flawlessly – but it just wasn’t what American Idol was looking for 🙂

Tripp and I could not be prouder of our little girl. The big question was “Will she audition again?” The answer from Maddy is “No.” What she discovered is that she did not like the cameras and lack of spontaneity. The stage has always been her first love. And her family is grateful that God gave her the opportunity to immediately focus on helping others through the Maddy Sings for Haiti Benefit she did last weekend.

Maddy is receiving invitations to speak and perform at pro-life events and True Love Waits. Having been given a chance in the spotlight, the true purpose of Maddy’s life and her gifts has been revealed. It shouldn’t be surprising that God can use the things of the world to accomplish His purposes.

And even if nothing else happened, what happened is enough. . . .


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  • Winston Smith

    Kudos to young Ms. Curtis for handling herself well under difficult circumstances. Ask yourself whether the producers of “American Idol” would ever want, or allow, a truly devout Christian to win the competition. Real Christians are like fish out of water in the world of Simon Cowell and Clay Aiken.

  • Winston Smith

    Kudos to young Ms. Curtis for handling herself well under difficult circumstances. Ask yourself whether the producers of “American Idol” would ever want, or allow, a truly devout Christian to win the competition. Real Christians are like fish out of water in the world of Simon Cowell and Clay Aiken.

  • Winston (@1), they’ll want or allow anyone, Christian or not, to win if it earns them money.

  • Winston (@1), they’ll want or allow anyone, Christian or not, to win if it earns them money.

  • Joe

    tODD – I think your right, but I also think that they will start with an assumption that Christianity is a liability. And from a pure marketing standpoint, I am not sure that they would be wrong.

  • Joe

    tODD – I think your right, but I also think that they will start with an assumption that Christianity is a liability. And from a pure marketing standpoint, I am not sure that they would be wrong.

  • Adam

    So even getting the boot on the vacuous “American Idol” serves as an example of how the culture won’t give Christians a break? I had no idea.

  • Adam

    So even getting the boot on the vacuous “American Idol” serves as an example of how the culture won’t give Christians a break? I had no idea.

  • Winston Smith

    She would eventually have to compromise her faith, or the music biz would find her testimony an embarrassment.

    “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath … Christ with Belial?” II Cor. 6: 14-15

    An industry that produces and celebrates the likes of Lady Gaga and Xtina Aguilera is no place for the Maddy Curtises of the world. Her rejection, far from not catching a break, is actually a blessing in disguise.

  • Winston Smith

    She would eventually have to compromise her faith, or the music biz would find her testimony an embarrassment.

    “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath … Christ with Belial?” II Cor. 6: 14-15

    An industry that produces and celebrates the likes of Lady Gaga and Xtina Aguilera is no place for the Maddy Curtises of the world. Her rejection, far from not catching a break, is actually a blessing in disguise.

  • Joe

    Since this is billed as a vocation blog, I’ll ask a vocation question. I struggle some with the concept that the mother is talking about here; “the true purpose of Maddy’s life and her gifts has been revealed.”

    I understand that we all have certain vocations (I am a father, a husband, an elder and a lawyer, etc.) and that the service we perform in them is for our neighbors and glorifies God (or should anyway), but I have a hard time understanding it on the very specific level.

    Did God really preordain and script this entire thing from audition to rejection in order to provide the people of Haiti with a singer for a benefit concert and to help the pro-life movement find some entertainment for its next rally? I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

    Isn’t this really more of an example of (1) God working all things for good (a girls’ rejection by other humans becomes a platform for her to do some good works for her neighbor) and (2) a young lady who understands that it is good right and salutary that she should use her talents in a God pleasing manor?

  • Joe

    Since this is billed as a vocation blog, I’ll ask a vocation question. I struggle some with the concept that the mother is talking about here; “the true purpose of Maddy’s life and her gifts has been revealed.”

    I understand that we all have certain vocations (I am a father, a husband, an elder and a lawyer, etc.) and that the service we perform in them is for our neighbors and glorifies God (or should anyway), but I have a hard time understanding it on the very specific level.

    Did God really preordain and script this entire thing from audition to rejection in order to provide the people of Haiti with a singer for a benefit concert and to help the pro-life movement find some entertainment for its next rally? I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

    Isn’t this really more of an example of (1) God working all things for good (a girls’ rejection by other humans becomes a platform for her to do some good works for her neighbor) and (2) a young lady who understands that it is good right and salutary that she should use her talents in a God pleasing manor?

  • Adam

    Joe, you and the man with the Orwellian name seem at cross purposes here. He sees the girl’s ‘rejection’ as a blessing, to correct her mistake of having entered a contest no Christian should enter. You say (ask, really) that even her entry into this contest was His will, as was the timing of her ‘rejection.’
    However it works out, it appears that under discussion here is whether God comforts the rich and famous when their attempts to gain further riches and fame fall flat.

  • Adam

    Joe, you and the man with the Orwellian name seem at cross purposes here. He sees the girl’s ‘rejection’ as a blessing, to correct her mistake of having entered a contest no Christian should enter. You say (ask, really) that even her entry into this contest was His will, as was the timing of her ‘rejection.’
    However it works out, it appears that under discussion here is whether God comforts the rich and famous when their attempts to gain further riches and fame fall flat.

  • Joe

    Adam @ 7″However it works out, it appears that under discussion here is whether God comforts the rich and famous when their attempts to gain further riches and fame fall flat.”

    Forgive me if I am being dense, but I don’t understand what you are saying here? Is this woman rich? Maybe I don’t know enough about her, but her wealth or lack thereof doesn’t have anything to do with my question. I am simply curious if we are to understand and believe that God walked this girl step by step through this thing because he wanted her to play a benefit concert. I just have a hard time believing that.

    I think the correct answer and understanding of vocation is my last paragraph. But I am curious as to what others think and am willing to be persuaded.

  • Joe

    Adam @ 7″However it works out, it appears that under discussion here is whether God comforts the rich and famous when their attempts to gain further riches and fame fall flat.”

    Forgive me if I am being dense, but I don’t understand what you are saying here? Is this woman rich? Maybe I don’t know enough about her, but her wealth or lack thereof doesn’t have anything to do with my question. I am simply curious if we are to understand and believe that God walked this girl step by step through this thing because he wanted her to play a benefit concert. I just have a hard time believing that.

    I think the correct answer and understanding of vocation is my last paragraph. But I am curious as to what others think and am willing to be persuaded.

  • Adam

    Joe, your last paragraph at 6 ended with a question mark, thus it was not ‘the correct answer and understanding of vocation’ that you now describe it. Nonetheless, I agree with your comment that it’s hard to believe God walked her though this so that she could play a benefit concert.
    My point was the rank futility of the subject matter.

  • Adam

    Joe, your last paragraph at 6 ended with a question mark, thus it was not ‘the correct answer and understanding of vocation’ that you now describe it. Nonetheless, I agree with your comment that it’s hard to believe God walked her though this so that she could play a benefit concert.
    My point was the rank futility of the subject matter.

  • Joe

    Adam – the introductory phrase “isn’t this really …” wasn’t a pretty obvious hint that I thought what was aboiut to follow is the correct answer and understanding? Really, you couldn’t figure that out?

    Anyway, what “subject matter” is futile? Vocation or this women’s signing adventrues? Just curious.

  • Joe

    Adam – the introductory phrase “isn’t this really …” wasn’t a pretty obvious hint that I thought what was aboiut to follow is the correct answer and understanding? Really, you couldn’t figure that out?

    Anyway, what “subject matter” is futile? Vocation or this women’s signing adventrues? Just curious.

  • Adam

    Joe, your writing is not nearly as clear as you think it is.

  • Adam

    Joe, your writing is not nearly as clear as you think it is.

  • Hello allo-

    Maddy’s mother here. I am sorry to have put things so glibly as to spark this debate. Forgive me. I am out of my league with the theological big boys 🙂

    I do just want to let you all know that last year’s winner of the American Idol competition is a devoted Christian – a music minister at his church. The second runner up was also a music minister. Neither one of them have become compromised a la Lady Gaga.

    A few years ago the competition was won by Jordin Sparks, a devout Christian 17-7ear-old who sports a purity ring and has taken a lot of flak for it.

    Another winner, Carrie Underwood is also a Christian whose first release was Jesus Take the Wheel.

    You are right that money is the primary goal of the producers at AI – religion is irrelevant to them. And yet because it is decent family entertainment, the audience of American Idol does support pretty wholesome people.

    While we were waiting in the holding rooms, most of the singers sang praise songs and even prayed together, confirming what I had always suspected – that American Idol is jampacked with Christians – because we grow up singing.

    God doesn’t need Bible thumpers or theologians to accomplish his ends. Actually, whether you know it or not, you are often working to defeat his purposes – which is why I teach at Christian writers conferences to help less experienced writers let go of their narrow perspective and Christian jargon to become real “fishers of men.” The book of Esther never mentions God. C. S. Lewis made it clear that you can spread the Gospel message without beating people over the head. Suggested read: Roaring Lambs.

    Maddy’s testimony undoubtedly saved the lives of hundreds – if not thousands – of babies with Down syndrome. She has continued to be a voice for pro-life, pro-family values.

    Interview: Cut from American Idol, but Thrilled for Chance to Spread Pro-Life Message: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/feb/10021114.html

    Let me ask you who are so busy judging her impact: What have you done for the world?

    It is unbelievable to me that those of us called to be salt and light in the world – and who suffer the secular blows which you are able to dodge by sticking to comment sections – become your personal voodoo dolls.

  • Hello allo-

    Maddy’s mother here. I am sorry to have put things so glibly as to spark this debate. Forgive me. I am out of my league with the theological big boys 🙂

    I do just want to let you all know that last year’s winner of the American Idol competition is a devoted Christian – a music minister at his church. The second runner up was also a music minister. Neither one of them have become compromised a la Lady Gaga.

    A few years ago the competition was won by Jordin Sparks, a devout Christian 17-7ear-old who sports a purity ring and has taken a lot of flak for it.

    Another winner, Carrie Underwood is also a Christian whose first release was Jesus Take the Wheel.

    You are right that money is the primary goal of the producers at AI – religion is irrelevant to them. And yet because it is decent family entertainment, the audience of American Idol does support pretty wholesome people.

    While we were waiting in the holding rooms, most of the singers sang praise songs and even prayed together, confirming what I had always suspected – that American Idol is jampacked with Christians – because we grow up singing.

    God doesn’t need Bible thumpers or theologians to accomplish his ends. Actually, whether you know it or not, you are often working to defeat his purposes – which is why I teach at Christian writers conferences to help less experienced writers let go of their narrow perspective and Christian jargon to become real “fishers of men.” The book of Esther never mentions God. C. S. Lewis made it clear that you can spread the Gospel message without beating people over the head. Suggested read: Roaring Lambs.

    Maddy’s testimony undoubtedly saved the lives of hundreds – if not thousands – of babies with Down syndrome. She has continued to be a voice for pro-life, pro-family values.

    Interview: Cut from American Idol, but Thrilled for Chance to Spread Pro-Life Message: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/feb/10021114.html

    Let me ask you who are so busy judging her impact: What have you done for the world?

    It is unbelievable to me that those of us called to be salt and light in the world – and who suffer the secular blows which you are able to dodge by sticking to comment sections – become your personal voodoo dolls.

  • Alice Rowan

    Thank you so much, “Maddy’s mother”! :^) You inspire and bless me!!! (As, of course, does your daughter and the rest of your family.) Praying for all of you!

  • Alice Rowan

    Thank you so much, “Maddy’s mother”! :^) You inspire and bless me!!! (As, of course, does your daughter and the rest of your family.) Praying for all of you!

  • Mrs. Curtis, thanks very much for writing. I apologize for the commenters who seem to be critical.

    To Adam & Joe: Here is how the doctrine of vocation works: God gave this 16-year-old a gift to be able to sing very well. He gave her opportunities and will continue to do so. To say she made a “mistake” in taking an opportunity or that she shouldn’t have entered such a godless arena (which isn’t godless at all, as Mrs. Curtis points out) is to misunderstand vocation and the nature of God’s calling. When Mrs. Curtis said that Maddy now sees her purpose, she is saying that her success in making it to Hollywood and the national exposure she received–even though she got cut later–is making her discern God’s calling for her life: She does NOT want to be singing before a camera; she prefers the stage; she sees that the real value of her gifts is in helping others. (Haiti, the pro-life cause, the chastity movement, etc.) This is EXACTLY how one finds one’s calling.

  • Mrs. Curtis, thanks very much for writing. I apologize for the commenters who seem to be critical.

    To Adam & Joe: Here is how the doctrine of vocation works: God gave this 16-year-old a gift to be able to sing very well. He gave her opportunities and will continue to do so. To say she made a “mistake” in taking an opportunity or that she shouldn’t have entered such a godless arena (which isn’t godless at all, as Mrs. Curtis points out) is to misunderstand vocation and the nature of God’s calling. When Mrs. Curtis said that Maddy now sees her purpose, she is saying that her success in making it to Hollywood and the national exposure she received–even though she got cut later–is making her discern God’s calling for her life: She does NOT want to be singing before a camera; she prefers the stage; she sees that the real value of her gifts is in helping others. (Haiti, the pro-life cause, the chastity movement, etc.) This is EXACTLY how one finds one’s calling.

  • Cincinnatus

    Mrs. Curtis seems to be a bit judgmental as well, but I suppose I can understand a protective stance towards one’s 16-year-old daughter when she’s been suddenly, though voluntarily, thrust into the public eye (but don’t worry: her 15 minutes is essentially over).

    Here’s what I think: American Idol is, much like the Superbowl, a vapid spectacle appealing to the lowest common denominator of democratic tastes. In fact, Tocqueville believed that democratic man doesn’t even _have_ tastes, only fleeting desires, so I think we can say that the French visitor prophesied American Idol. I’m frankly surprised, in fact, that a show specifically designed to create commercialized pop stars–whose only talent is the ability to mimic inane radio tunes–is popular on this blog. Let me know when there is a show aiming at the discovery of the next concert pianist.

  • Cincinnatus

    Mrs. Curtis seems to be a bit judgmental as well, but I suppose I can understand a protective stance towards one’s 16-year-old daughter when she’s been suddenly, though voluntarily, thrust into the public eye (but don’t worry: her 15 minutes is essentially over).

    Here’s what I think: American Idol is, much like the Superbowl, a vapid spectacle appealing to the lowest common denominator of democratic tastes. In fact, Tocqueville believed that democratic man doesn’t even _have_ tastes, only fleeting desires, so I think we can say that the French visitor prophesied American Idol. I’m frankly surprised, in fact, that a show specifically designed to create commercialized pop stars–whose only talent is the ability to mimic inane radio tunes–is popular on this blog. Let me know when there is a show aiming at the discovery of the next concert pianist.

  • Cincinnatus:

    All I have to go on is the example Jesus left us in his embrace of the common man. A man who knew only how to fish and who probably stank of his occupation was chosen as the cornerstone on which to Jesus built his church. A woman derided by her theological betters was the one who left us the lasting impression that it was pleasing to the Lord that we would break our own alabaster jars even though the more sophisticated religious would deride us.

    Scripture tells us that God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise, the he who would be first will be last –

    and so on – to God be the glory!

    My advice: let go of your intellectual/theological constructs and return to the simplicity and grace of scripture. God bless and keep you always!

  • Cincinnatus:

    All I have to go on is the example Jesus left us in his embrace of the common man. A man who knew only how to fish and who probably stank of his occupation was chosen as the cornerstone on which to Jesus built his church. A woman derided by her theological betters was the one who left us the lasting impression that it was pleasing to the Lord that we would break our own alabaster jars even though the more sophisticated religious would deride us.

    Scripture tells us that God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise, the he who would be first will be last –

    and so on – to God be the glory!

    My advice: let go of your intellectual/theological constructs and return to the simplicity and grace of scripture. God bless and keep you always!

  • Cincinnatus

    The “simplicity of Scripture” (I do not think that term means what you think it means) does not dictate that I should appreciate, nay, “love” the worst in popular culture America has to offer. In fact, the two are completely unrelated.

  • Cincinnatus

    The “simplicity of Scripture” (I do not think that term means what you think it means) does not dictate that I should appreciate, nay, “love” the worst in popular culture America has to offer. In fact, the two are completely unrelated.

  • Alice Rowan

    I think that “the worst in popular culture” and the example communicated by Maddy, Barbara, and their family in the midst of that culture are two different things and should be separated in any comments about them. The world is what it is, for now, and Jesus took meals with prostitutes and tax collectors (for example) and turned water into wine (and was called by some a glutton and a drunkard). That’s what I see.

  • Alice Rowan

    I think that “the worst in popular culture” and the example communicated by Maddy, Barbara, and their family in the midst of that culture are two different things and should be separated in any comments about them. The world is what it is, for now, and Jesus took meals with prostitutes and tax collectors (for example) and turned water into wine (and was called by some a glutton and a drunkard). That’s what I see.

  • Alice Rowan

    P.S. I can be equally awed by a concert pianist and a young girl with a pure voice singing about with dignity in front of the toughest “judges” in the secular world.

  • Alice Rowan

    P.S. I can be equally awed by a concert pianist and a young girl with a pure voice singing about with dignity in front of the toughest “judges” in the secular world.

  • Cincinnatus: Yes, pop music is a lesser kind than classical music. But even lesser kinds of art have their degrees and their aesthetic standards. (One of the things I appreciated about Maddy from attending her concert is that she did NOT sing today’s radio styles but drew on the songbook of earlier American music. In the audition in which she was cut, she sang not a pop piece at all but a jazz standard. Simon scolded her for her bad choice of music.) But the value of “American Idol” is that it forces democratic Americans not used to doing so into making aesthetic judgments. In first witnessing performances that are genuinely bad, it defeats the notion that all aesthetic standards are merely subjective. In the later phase of the show, viewers are put into the position of having to decide which performance is better–and then voting for it, of all Tocquevillian things!–they have to employ some kind of standard. This is exactly what democracies need to be able to do, and not just in judging talent contests.

  • Cincinnatus: Yes, pop music is a lesser kind than classical music. But even lesser kinds of art have their degrees and their aesthetic standards. (One of the things I appreciated about Maddy from attending her concert is that she did NOT sing today’s radio styles but drew on the songbook of earlier American music. In the audition in which she was cut, she sang not a pop piece at all but a jazz standard. Simon scolded her for her bad choice of music.) But the value of “American Idol” is that it forces democratic Americans not used to doing so into making aesthetic judgments. In first witnessing performances that are genuinely bad, it defeats the notion that all aesthetic standards are merely subjective. In the later phase of the show, viewers are put into the position of having to decide which performance is better–and then voting for it, of all Tocquevillian things!–they have to employ some kind of standard. This is exactly what democracies need to be able to do, and not just in judging talent contests.

  • Dr. Veith, Americans aren’t used to “making aesthetic judgments”? What? Isn’t one critique of our democracy that it’s largely based on aesthetic judgments, instead of judging actual merit (or, if you will, governing talent)?

  • Dr. Veith, Americans aren’t used to “making aesthetic judgments”? What? Isn’t one critique of our democracy that it’s largely based on aesthetic judgments, instead of judging actual merit (or, if you will, governing talent)?

  • True, tODD. I meant “objective aesthetic judgments.”

  • True, tODD. I meant “objective aesthetic judgments.”