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NRL News
Page 14
April/May 2010
Volume 37
Issue 4-5

Maddy Curtis Brings Pro-Life Message to American Idol and to NRL Convention

By Liz Townsend

Sixteen-year-old Maddy Curtis has a big voice and a big heart. Viewers of American Idol’s Boston audition episode met Maddy and her family, which includes four brothers with Down syndrome, and were able to see how her brothers’ love has enriched her life.

Maddy Curtis and her brother Jonny.

Although Maddy did not get chosen to sing in the live shows, her exposure on American Idol has opened up many possibilities for a future career and for her to bring her pro-life witness to the world. The members of National Teens for Life are thrilled that she will be joining them when they meet during the National Right to Life Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 24–26.

It’s important that people know how amazing Down syndrome kids are,” Maddy told NRL News. “They have the capability to see the world in all perfect emotions. They taught me to be a better person, be a better Christian.”

Bringing this message to the millions-strong Idol audience was an incredible opportunity for the Bluemont, Virginia, teenager. She came home from school one day and suddenly had the idea to audition for Season 9 of the show.

It must have been the Holy Spirit,” Maddy explained. “I looked up on the web site and auditions were being held in Boston the next day.”

Accompanied by her mother, Barbara Curtis, a pro-life writer and blogger, Maddy made it through first rounds and auditioned in front of the television cameras and the show’s judges. Singing a beautiful version of “Hallelujah,” she received positive comments from the judges and was advanced to Hollywood. Simon Cowell even told her, “Nice voice. A bit of soul in there, Maddy. Amazingly, for sixteen.” (You can watch Maddy sing “Hallelujah” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNUL4HPgmvA.)

Maddy honed her singing skills in musical theater, as a cantor in church, and as part of a bluegrass band. The pop world of American Idol was a big adjustment, and Maddy is not too upset that her time on the show ended early.

I feel like I am totally at peace with it,” she said. “I put it all in God’s hands.”

When her audition episode aired January 12, Maddy was featured in a video that showed her home and her family.

One of 12 children, Maddy has an older brother Jonny who has Down syndrome. The family adopted three more boys with the syndrome as well, and Maddy treasures her childhood growing up with her brothers.

I think some people are a little skeptical of Down syndrome,” Maddy said in the video. “Those boys bring out the best in each and every person they meet. They see the world in colors and we need to see the world that way.”

Maddy’s touching words and her lovely singing were watched by over 25 million people that night. The exposure has opened up a world of possibilities for the high school junior. She held a two-night charity concert after the Haiti earthquake that raised $8,000, and is starting to consider college plans at a musical conservatory and even giving a bit of thought to trying out for American Idol again.

I’m still thinking about what I want to do,” she said. “I know something like American Idol is a long shot. But it was a good experience.”

Maddy’s mother wrote on her blog, Mommy Life, that she was happy with how the producers portrayed her daughter and for the opportunities it has opened up. “Having been given a chance in the spotlight, the true purpose of Maddy’s life and her gifts has been revealed,” Barbara Curtis wrote. “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. . . .”