Maddy Curtis, a sixteen-year-old from a Virginia family of twelve, is one of the contestants advancing in the American Idol singing contest. Curtis, the ninth child in the family, has an older brother and three adopted brothers with Down’s syndrome.
Speaking on a segment of American Idol, Maddy said being ninth of twelve kids was “a crazy experience, but it’s awesome.”
Describing her disabled brothers, she said “Those four boys bring out the best in every person they meet. They see the world in colors, and we need to see the world that way.”
At the American Idol try-outs in Boston in June 2009, a mildly nervous Maddy delivered a strong performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
Contest judge Randy Jackson said of her performance: “I didn’t think it would be that good… but actually I really liked it!”
He especially praised the well-controlled range of her voice, a video of the try-out shows.
Guest judge Victoria Beckham, a former member of the British pop group Spice Girls, said Maddy’s performance showed a “really, really beautiful voice.
Judge and singer-songwriter Kara DioGuardi commented: “When you sing, it feels really authentic… it’s coming from your heart.”
“Nice voice. A bit of soul in there, Maddy,” commented Simon Cowell, the series’ notoriously critical judge.
“Amazingly, for sixteen… you’re not annoying!” he added. “It’s rare.”
All the judges voted to approve Maddy for the next round of the competition, held in Hollywood, California.
“I’m on top of the world,” the aspiring American Idol said after the judges’ decision.
Curtis’ mother Barbara is a pro-life blogger and a columnist who converted with her family to Catholicism from Evangelicalism.
She discussed her daughter’s progress on her blog “Mommy Life.” Because of a confidentiality agreement, her ability to comment was limited. She said that the Feb. 3 broadcast of the show is billed as “The Road to Hollywood” and “may or may not have stuff about Maddy.”
After “an emotional roller coaster of a day,” Barbara wrote in a Jan. 13 blog post, “Maddy is sleeping peacefully. There is a God who has her in His hands and that gives me great peace and joy. Tripp and I are grateful - as we are with each of our kids - that He has entrusted us to be her parents.
“If I can offer one piece of advice to parents of young children, it's to support your children's dreams. No matter what the outcome, you will have wonderful memories and they will never forget how much you care.”