Music came into Madelyn Padget's life quite naturally. By now performing on a stage or in front of even thousands of people has become natural for the Blue Springs South junior.
On Sunday, Padget won KC SuperStar, the annual “American Idol” type of competition hosted by the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park for high school singers. Chosen by the audience from a group of 10 finalists, Padget won a $10,000 prize. It was the first time a Missouri teen won the competition since Blue Springs' Michaelah Burns in 2011.
Padget, who is the daughter of music teachers and already is becoming a veteran of metro area musical theater, had never auditioned for KC SuperStar before. But while performing in a show at The J's White Theatre early this year, some castmates convinced her to simply give it a shot.
“That was my mindset,” she said. “I had some friends who had done it in the past, and they thought it was the coolest thing.”
Auditions were in March, and judges chose a couple dozen semifinalists who performed June 4. From that group came the finalists, who also included St. Michael High School graduate Devion Williams. They had group rehearsals over the summer, preparing opening and closing numbers to bookend the solo performances during Sunday's show.
Padget said organizers chose the opening number, “Crazy Dreams” from the short-lived TV musical show “Smash,” because one of the show's starts, Broadway star Megan Hilty, was a guest for Sunday's finals. The final group number was from the recent movie musical “The Greatest Showman.”
For her song, Padget performed the Celine Dion power ballad “It's All Coming Back to Me Now.”
“I didn't really know the song until about a year ago,” she said. “I saw a video of Jeremy Jordan, one of my favorite singers, doing a cover of it.”
Padget not only inherited some musical genes – her father Doug is the band director at Moreland Ridge Middle School and had been an assistant at Blue Springs South, and her mother Robyn is the music teacher at Cordill-Mason Elementary – but she was exposed as a youth to the performing.
“My mom and her brother had a family country show that they performed on the road with forever,” Padget said. “I was 9 or 10 when they stopped. That's what inspired me to start performing. Her mother also played different instruments and sang.”
She also has played piano and clarinet, but recently relinquished marching band because she was busy with stage show performances. As a freshman at South, she starred as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady,” and she has a long list of prior school and community productions. Favorite roles besides Eliza, she said, include Jo in “Little Women” and Olive in White Theater's “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
Oh, and there's a gig she's had several times now over the past four years – singing the national anthem and “God Bless America” at a Kansas City Royals game. The first invitation came after she submitted a video audition and then did a live audition in an empty stadium -- “which was really cool,” she said.
“I'm super thankful for the opportunities they keep providing,” she said.
Padget said she hopes to make a career in musical theater, first in college and then to New York, but she's in no big rush to pick a college
“I'm trying not to stress out too much about it,” she said.