Soccer player competes against odds for ‘Idol’ spot
Story by Laurie Merrill
Photos by Tyler McDonald
GCU News Bureau
For as long as she can remember, Madeline McArthur has had two passions: soccer and singing.
McArthur, a Grand Canyon University sophomore and Division I soccer player, was 4 when she began playing club ball.
“I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t soccer,” said the exercise science major in the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions.
But she started singing before she could talk, and that’s the talent she’s embracing as she prepares for the biggest challenge in her 19-year life: auditioning for “American Idol.”
On Tuesday in San Francisco, McArthur will be among hundreds of “American Idol” wannabes competing in the first round to appear on the hit reality show.
“Honestly, I’m terrified. It’s like this anxious, excited feeling,” she said.
Every year, tens of thousands of performers vie in tryouts across the country for a coveted on-air spot. Auditions are free and open to anyone between the ages of 15 and 28. McArthur knows what she’s up against, especially having only had about a month’s worth of voice lessons.
“The odds are against everyone,” she said. “The chances are very slim.”
McArthur, who is from the Sacramento area, grew up with the show. It was a ritual for her family to watch it while eating dinner.
When the show announced its final season, McArthur thought, it’s now or never. Take the chance, or regret it.
“It’s life, right? Why not do everything you can?” she said.
McArthur was raised on a steady diet of fitness and rock ’n’ roll. Her father, Quinn, competed in marathons and triathlons, and passed along his love of Queen, Led Zeppelin and other classic rock ’n’ roll artists to his daughter.
McArthur’s first big role came in fifth grade when she was cast as Dorothy in the school production of the “The Wizard of Oz.”
“I got to do ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow,’” she said.
During high school, guitar lessons with an enthusiastic mentor led to her joining a band that performed locally. She loved it, especially when she sang the lead vocals of Led Zeppelin songs.
(Click here to listen to her sing “Smooth” by Santana.)
For her “Idol” audition, she is preparing several songs, including “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore, “Work Song” by Hozier and “All About that Bass” by Meghan Trainor.
McArthur is a midfielder for the GCU women’s soccer team, but she hasn’t played this season. She attends team practices and activities, but is on the disability list because of a quadriceps injury.
Though she hasn’t been able to reach for the stars in soccer this year, she’s ready to compete for a shot at Hollywood.
“I’m getting genuinely excited,” said McArthur. “It’s living the dream.”
Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or [email protected]