Maddie Poppe and Megan Danielle rose to fame on different seasons of “American Idol,” but the singers have bonded over their experiences on the show and, during an online chat about their upcoming concert tour, spilled the beans on some of the most “stressful” aspects of their days as they advanced through the singing competition.
Poppe, who won season 16 of “Idol” in 2018, and Danielle, who was named runner-up to winner Iam Tongi on the season 21 finale in May, will kick off their summer tour in Wisconsin on July 15, 2023, and their Los Angeles concert this weekend will be livestreamed for fans who can’t make it to a live show.
During a half-hour Instagram Live chat to promote the tour, Poppe and Danielle swapped stories about life behind the scenes on “American Idol,” including “therapy sessions” with their vocal coaches and the anxiety of going to the wardrobe department each day. Here’s what you need to know:
Maddie Poppe & Megan Danielle Compare Notes on ‘Stressful’ Days Behind-the-Scenes of ‘Idol’
On July 11, Poppe and Danielle both casually logged into their Instagram Live from their kitchens to talk about the upcoming tour, but got sidetracked comparing notes on their “Idol” experiences.
When Poppe mentioned that former “American Idol” music director and vocal coach Michael Orland will be joining them for their livestreamed Los Angeles show on July 16, she recalled how she used to spend much of her backstage vocal coaching sessions with him venting.
“One of my favorite parts of the show was going into those vocal coaching sessions because it was, like, a therapy session,” Poppe said as Danielle nodded. “It was like, figure out the song, nail it and then, like, the rest of the time just talk about how insane and hard this whole experience is. I just remember that being a very freeing time.”
“I’m literally on the same page as you,” Danielle replied, recalling her sesions with Adriana McPhee and “The Voice” alum India Carney during season 21. “Because, you know, they take you everywhere, you never get a second to just chill … and you got into the vocal (coaching session) and that’s just a time you get to visit. For me, I was just talking crap most of the time because there was nobody to talk to except, like, Marybeth (Byrd) or Iam. It was awesome because it is like therapy.”
While they may have been able to relieve their stresses with their vocal coaches, both Poppe and Danielle said that visiting the wardrobe department was the most stressful part of their days.
It wasn’t the staff that was stressful, Poppe said, insisting, “I love those wardrobe people, I remember having so many good times in there.” Rather, she said, it was the nerve-wracking experience of going back-and-forth about outfits that rarely felt right to her, especially at the end of long days on the set.
She explained, “I think the reason why wardrobe is so stressful, for me anyways, was because it was the last thing you did. It was like, you do your set, you do your vocal coaching, and then you do your rehearsal. And like, at that point, you’re like feeling good. And then maybe you go in and do some interviews. And then at the very end of the day, when you’re all grimy and gross and you’re like ‘I need to go home, I’m exhausted, I’m so tired,’ I would go into wardrobe.”
Whenever they’d present her with outfits she didn’t love, Poppe said, “I’d be like, ‘I don’t really want 100 million people to see me in this,’ but sometimes I would get to the point where I’d be like, ‘I don’t care, I’m so tired.’ And that’s no slam on the wardrobe people because I think very highly of everybody on that show, but I just remember that being so, so stressful.”
Danielle agreed, saying, “Oh my gosh, there was some stuff I was like, ‘If I go out there looking like that, people are gonna think I’m trash.'”
But Danielle said she often felt bad for the wardrobe department because, after working so hard to find outfits they all agreed on, their wardrobe decisions would often get shot down by producers.
“Like, if we liked something and were on the same page, then the producers just hated it. It was crazy,” Danielle said, and Poppe recalled the same experience on season 16.
“Oh my gosh, yeah,” she exclaimed. “I remember that! You would be set and you guys would be so happy and you’d go on stage and they’d be like, ‘We don’t like the flower headband’ or something.”
Poppe remembered one outfit she wanted to pair with silver Doc Marten boots, but when the wardrobe department couldn’t find any, they spray painted a pair.
“If you looked up close, they looked so janky but, like, far away it was fine,” she laughed.
Both Poppe and Danielle said they got to take home many of the wardrobe pieces they liked from the show, though Danielle said she feels like she’s “gained about 20 pounds” since the finale.
“You look great,” Poppe assured her, adding, “and I completely feel you on that. When I gain even five pounds I’m like, ‘I’m an abomination to the world!”
Maddie Poppe & Megan Danielle Add Livestream Concert to Tour Schedule
Beginning July 15, Danielle, 21, will open up for Poppe, 25, on 15 concert dates this summer. Poppe said she was thrilled that Danielle said yes to the tour because she loves supporting other “Idol” artists, saying she “has an obsession with ‘Idol.'”
In 2022, season 20 finalist Fritz Hager was her opening act during her summer tour. Poppe said she thought Danielle might be too swamped to go on tour with her, but she slid into her DMs to gauge her interest.
“I was like, ‘I need you,'” Poppe recalled, “and you were like, ‘That sounds so fun!'”
To appease fans who are bummed that the concert tour isn’t stopping in their city, Poppe and Danielle have just announced that they’re performing a special livestream concert from Hitkor Studios in Los Angeles on July 16 from 9 p.m. to midnight Eastern time. Advance virtual tickets are $9.99 through July 14, and the livestream will be available to watch for a full year.
Calling it a “mini ‘American Idol,'” Poppe said the production will be state-of-the-art, from red carpet interviews before the concert to allowing viewers to choose their camera angles. She and Orland will also be performing some of the songs they arranged together during her time on “American Idol.”
Poppe and Danielle’s conversation then turned again to their wardrobes for the livestream event, with Poppe saying she’s ordered numerous outfits online and is hoping one works.
“Here’s what we’ve got to remember, Megan,” she said. “The red carpet is ours. It’s our red carpet. So if we want to go out there in sweatpants, we can make it whatever we want.”
Temped by the idea, Danielle laughed, “I totally would.”