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‘The situation speaks for itself’


“Whirlwind” doesn’t even begin to describe Maddie Poppe’s last 12 months. 

After dazzling the judges with her smoky, raspy vocals and left-field song choices, the Clarksville, Iowa, native was crowned the winner of “American Idol” last May. She narrowly bested her boyfriend, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, who placed second on ABC’s singing competition. Since then, she’s toured the country with her fellow Top 8 contestants and traveled back and forth between home and Los Angeles, where she hit the studio with songwriters including Johan Carlsson (Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman”) and Drew Pearson (Kesha’s “Woman”). 

More: ‘American Idol’: Contestants make Elton John’s discography their own; field down to Top 3

The resulting 10 songs make up her debut album “Whirlwind,” out Friday, which arrives just three days before the “Idol” reboot’s second-season finale Sunday (ABC, 8 EDT/PDT). Poppe, 21, talked with USA TODAY…



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