One year ago, Wilmington’s Margie Mays walked into an audition that was the beginning of her adventure in the national spotlight. This week Mays returned to her hometown for the first time since her quirky, sizzling star turn on the hit ABC TV show American Idol.
And Mays’ local “victory tour” will also be the first time the Tower Hill grad performs professionally in front of a Delaware audience.
Mays’ performances will include a concert at the Queen Theatre and judging a Teen Idol contest. The California-based singer kicked off her home stand today by opening a charity golf tournament at Hartefeld National, singing the national anthem to the delight of players and organizers.
During lunch at the Sojourner’s Place charity golf outing, Mays navigated the crowd to hug well-wishers and extended family members, many who flew in for the occasion and she was seeing for the first time since Idol’s end. Eleven-year-old cousin Wyatt Etshman captured the sentiment of everyone saying, “You should have won. You were the best!”
Sojourner’s Place provides shelter and an array of individualized services for homeless men and women in Wilmington.
As we walked to find a shady spot to conduct our interview, table after table of dining golfers smiled at Mays, who was wearing a cute black and white checked romper and her signature tennis shoes.
“It’s been amazing. This is the first time I have been home. You witnessed the first person to recognize me, which was awesome and cool. It’s crazy. I love doing these shows, even kicking off this charity event. I feel like my time is now and I am running with the momentum.”
Who better to judge Delaware Teen Idol
Mays returns to Los Angeles later this week and then flies back to Wilmington to judge the finals of Delaware Teen Idol on Friday, August 2nd for AIDS Delaware. The annual event showcases teens from 13 to 18 who will perform original works of poetry, songs, rap, dance and the spoken word on topics such as steering clear of drugs and addressing violence. The event, which starts at 6:30 pm at the Delaware Theatre Company, is open to the public. Tickets are $10.
After she agreed to the Teen Idol gig, Mays decided to plan a hometown show, which will be held at Wilmington’s The Queen theatre on August 3rd. General admission tickets are $20.
A hometown concert on August 3rd
Mays’ father helped her line up a band – Sticks & Stones – and she plans to send them a setlist of eight or nine songs, which will include new cover songs plus at least two original songs. One is a brand-new song that she hasn’t yet released, and no one has ever heard.
“I don’t want to bore people with a set of 15 songs. But it will go fast, and it will be good. And of course, I will be singing songs from the show (American Idol). That’s what people want to see. That’s like going to a Rolling Stones concert and not seeing hits like Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”
The concert will actually feature three American Idol contestants from the 2019 season. Mays assembled the event herself, asking contestants Seth Lyon and Taylor Van Cleave to perform from 7 pm before she takes the stage at 8 pm. “They were both in my group night on American Idol. So we became friends. Those two live close by – on the East Coast. So I Instagram messaged them and invited them to play a 20-minute set each.”
For fan favorites, perhaps the best hour will be before the show when Mays does a meet and greet, signs autographs, and poses for pictures. For $35, VIP Ticket holders can come from 6 to 7 pm. She says she will also try to hang around for a bit after the show, but she says when concerts are over, venues can cut short opportunities. “I just want to make sure everyone gets their time,” she said.
Margie recalls that her first big performance in Modesto, California after American Idol was a thriller for her. “That was a hit. People came all over. It was amazing. I do the box, and it is super fun. We had some fans who had been watching American Idol for 15 years and they bring posters, towels, lots of things with autographs from contestants even 15 years back. It’s pretty beautiful.”
New original single hits 100,000 streams on Spotify
Since wrapping up her time as a top 20 contestant on this year’s American Idol, Margie has released a new single, Over and Over Again, which last week hit over 100,000 streams on Spotify, and she continues to juggle multiple ideas and projects. Because she is her own stylist, booking agent and PR manager, Mays does it all herself. “I do everything by choice. It’s just more efficient and I’m waiting to hit a moment where I realize it may be too big for me to take care of on my own.
“I have been very, very, very busy. I’ve always been an overachiever. I’m almost neurotic. My mind is always going 24/7, and especially since I am my own team – I’m thankful my boyfriend is even still with me – I’m always thinking about what I’ve got to do next. And I’m very goal-oriented, and I go-go-go until that day comes.”
The question she is always asked concerns the one thing that made her American Idol’s most popular contestant who didn’t crack this year’s top 10. ‘Did you plan to do the box? Did you plan to be silly?’ Mays says the answer is no.
“Of course, I didn’t plan that. The TV producers kind of won the lottery ticket on me. I think I have quirky mannerisms, and when I walked in for my audition before the show – the one to get cast for the show a year ago, July 25th, 2018 – I did a little bit of that, but I was not goofy. I came in and sang real dang songs. No one knew that was going to happen later when I sang in front of Katy Perry and the other judges. I had no idea. It was the perfect storm.”