INTERVIEW: Douglasville’s Megan Danielle makes top 26 on ‘American Idol’

Megan Danielle performing on "American Idol." ABC

Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC

Megan Danielle performing on "American Idol." ABC

When Douglasville’s Megan Danielle competed on “The Voice” in 2020 at age 17, she wasn’t quite sure what direction she wanted to go music wise. She finished in the top 9.

After that competition show, she had a band for a while and played local bars. But that didn’t feel right. Encouraged by her grandfather, she disbanded that group and made a switch to Christian pop.

“American Idol” contacted her last year to audition and she decided to make a move back into the spotlight under a new guise.

“This gave me an opportunity to share my love of God,” said Danielle in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week. “I want to be able to just lead people where the world is missing and the world is missing God. That’s what I strongly believe. And I want to really do better for myself and lead people in the right direction.”

In her initial audition in Las Vegas, Danielle sang “You Say,” a song by Christian crossover pop singer Lauren Daigle. By coincidence, Daigle had performed the night before in Vegas. The producers surprised Danielle by bringing Daigle into the studio in the middle of her audition singing along to “You Say.”

Danielle was floored, naturally.

‘What you have is a real honest rawness,” said judge and fellow Georgian Luke Bryan. “Once you start learning and we give you confidence and you start realizing you can really do this, it will be fun to watch you grow.”

Danielle said that experience was “crazy. My family and I were trying to go to her concert the day before my audition but it didn’t work out. Then the next day, I got my own concert with her!”

She said Daigle gave her sage advice: “Stay true to myself and my faith. And whatever happens in the competition, God has so much more for me.”

In the opening round of Hollywood, she sang a heartfelt, bluesy version of Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain” and gets so overtaken by emotion, she breaks down by the end.

After the showstopper round, Danielle was paired with Paige Anne in a sing off. They both sang “Easy on Me” by Adele. The judges chose Danielle over Anne.

“She is so wonderful,” Danielle said. “I wish we both could have gone through.” (Surprise! “Idol” brought Anne back because a top 26 semifinalist Beckett Rex dropped out.)

Danielle is set to perform a pre-taped song in Hawaii on Monday night’s top 26 episode, which features 13 of the 26 semifinalists. (The first 13 sang on Sunday night’s episode.) America will vote for the first time and eliminate three of the 13 from each group, leaving a top 20 for Sunday night that will be trimmed to 12 by Monday.

The “Idol’ experience has been better for her than “The Voice” in part because she knows what she wants now more than she did then.

Plus, she said the “Idol” producers “let you be exactly who you are. That’s what’s amazing. I get to sing the songs that I want.” (”The Voice,” she noted, was more restrictive in terms of song choice.)

She said she has struggled with confidence all her life. “This competition has taught me that there are people who love me and want the best for me and it’s helped me get out of my head,” she said.

Once the show is finished, Danielle plans to put a new band together and perform in churches and learn to write more Christian songs. If she lasts long enough on “Idol,” she said she hopes to sing an original she wrote about her beloved grandfather who died a year ago called “All Around.”


“American Idol,” 8 p.m. Monday night on ABC for the second half of the top 26. This Sunday will be the top 20 and next Monday, April 24 will be the top 12.