Maddie Poppe sings on American Idol. (Courtesy: KCRG-TV and Fremantle Media/ABC)

A college student from northeast Iowa appeared on Sunday night’s premiere of the new season of American Idol on ABC-TV.

Maddie Poppe, a 20-year-old Clarksville native, spoke with KCRG-TV this morning about the experience. “It’s been awesome. It’s been really hard keeping it a secret because that happened in October and I’ve really had to keep it under wraps,” Poppe said. It took three rounds of auditions before Poppe was able to perform for the celebrity judges in New York City last fall.

“And it was so surreal seeing it last night on TV,” Poppe told KCRG. Poppe sang the song “Rainbow Connection,” accompanying herself on guitar. Poppe was given three yes votes from Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie, who all watched her audition.

The judges loved her performance and gave her a golden ticket to move onto the next round of competition in Hollywood. Poppe has been singing since she was a kid. In 2014, Poppe performed along the RAGBRAI route, as the bicycle riders passed through Clarksville.