WATCH: 16-Year-Old Haven Madison Stuns ‘American Idol’ Judges With Self-Penned Original Song

16-year-old Haven Madison impressed the Idol judges with her audition.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 19, 2023


11:41 am

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Haven Madison, American Idol; Photos by ABC, Eric McCandless

16-year-old Haven Madison impressed the American Idol judges with an original song in a first look at the upcoming Season 21 premiere, airing on Sunday (Feb. 19) at 8/7c on ABC.

Joined by her father, Jason Roy, on acoustic guitar, Madison showcased her vocal prowess with a performance of a self-penned original tune titled “Fifteen.” 

“What if I want now / What if I’m not the same / what if it’s all the game and nothing ever’s gonna change / What if I wanted now / and I don’t know where I’m going / and I’m not sure where this ends / but even when the storms are coming / I’m going stand against the wind / I’ve got a heart that’s full of questions / I guess I’ll find out as I go / I’d rather try to run the distance than live in fear and never know / what if want it now,” Madison sang.

Madison’s Performance Blew The Judges Away

Following her audition, Idol judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan gushed over the Clarksville, Tennessee native’s songwriting talents.

“You can have it. You can have it right now,” Perry and Richie exclaimed as she concluded her performance. 

“Absolutely. In fact, let’s go to the studio right now. Let’s cut that song right now. Can we cut that song?” Richie added, praising the young contestant’s vocals and songwriting abilities. 

Watch Her Perform “Fifteen”

YouTube video

Madison’s father, who is the lead singer of GRAMMY-nominated Christian contemporary music group, Building 429, was overcome with emotion after his daughter’s audition.

“Are you okay? You’re not. Oh my God, I saw that,” Perry asked as she noticed Madison’s dad tearing up. 

Richie added, “Oh my God. Dad, there’s reason to cry.” He went on to applaud the young singer’s “incredible” songwriting skills. 

He also told Madison, “You can be anything you want to be right now. It’s believable. Artist, voice, songwriting. Check. Check. Check. I don’t see anything wrong now, except the world doesn’t know anything about you, but they will. That was incredible and I’m so happy you came to American Idol.”

“I’m so grateful to be here,” Madison replied. 

A Golden Ticket

Perry then chimed in, exclaiming, “the vocal decision you made, they were just like so on another level. And they’re so you and authentic and coming from your heart, that song has a lot of opportunity to be something.”

Bryan then declared, “we’re starting this day off good,” as Haven Madison marked the first Idol audition to air.

“I mean, I think when a 16-year-old can really speak the 16-year-old language that all the other 16-year-olds want to hear, it’s really special. I mean, whatever y’all are doing is what,” Bryan said. “Let Dad just hit the record button.”

Ultimately, Haven Madison earned three yeses and a golden ticket to Hollywood. 

“This diamond’s ready to sparkle,” Katy Perry shouted as she grabbed her golden ticket. 

“Miss Haven Madison from Clarksville, Tennessee. Guess what? You’re going to Hollywood!” the judges collectively revealed.

Haven Madison was featured as one of the three Idol contestants competing for America’s vote to win the Platinum ticket alongside Matt Wilson and Elijah McCormick, who ultimately earned the coveted Platinum ticket. 

Bryan also teased the audition on social media, where he said, “@havenmadisonsings hooked us with her original song “Fifteen” and we can’t wait to hear more.”

The season 21 premiere of American Idol airs on Sunday (Feb. 19) at 8/7c on ABC. The show will also stream on HULU.

This season of Idol promises to be a memorable one as it’s a celebration of the show turning 21 (in both years and seasons). Idol judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie return to find the next singing sensation in New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Nashville.  

American Idol airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.