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Superior teen tapped for 'American Idol' audition

Belle Modeen was surprised with a ticket to audition for the show during an event unveiling Superior High School's renovated Performing Arts Center.

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Belle Modeen, 15, holds the silver ticket she received Thursday, Sept. 22, outside the entrance to the Superior High School Performing Arts Center. Modeen was surprised with the ticket during an event showcasing the renovated theater space.
Contributed / Nicole Modeen
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SUPERIOR — Music and drama students gathered to unveil Superior High School’s Performing Arts Center Sept. 22, not knowing that one of their own would receive a slip of paper packed with possibilities.

Before the choir left the stage, sophomore Belle Modeen was presented with a ticket to audition for “American Idol.”

“When it happened ... I had no words, and I was super excited,” said Modeen, 15.

Surprise ticket

Six days later, as she prepared to cover the high school’s powder puff football game for the student newspaper, the Spartan Spin, that elation was still there.

“I am just still so excited and don’t know how to put it in words how happy I am. It feels unreal,” Modeen said.

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Her family was as surprised by the ticket as the students; the teen wasn’t planning to try out for "American Idol" this year.

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Kenny Johnson with WDIO TV, second from right, presents Belle Modeen, third from right, with a silver ticket to audition for "American Idol" during a ceremony to showcase the newly renovated Superior High School Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022.
Contributed / Nicole Modeen

“It just came out of nowhere,” said her mother Nicole, who was at the event in the PAC.

“We had no idea about it. It was just, she was selected and we’re grateful and proud about it,” said her father, Erik. “And proud is kind of the understatement, you know … she’s the type of person that makes other people around her better.”

WDIO TV in Duluth had a ticket for the “American Idol” singing contest, according to the family. Instead of holding an event to select their competitor, they chose Modeen for the honor. It was based, in part, on a feature the station did on the Superior teen for their “Amazing 8 Under 18.”

“She had no idea. She didn’t audition, she didn’t try out. It just came to her because of who she is and this gift, this talent, this gift she has,” Nicole said.

One of the people who was in on the secret was SHS Activities Director Ella Olson.

Looking back, one thing in particular stuck out to her.

“My favorite part of any of the videos was the surprise and support Belle's fellow classmates showed when she was surprised with her ticket. I think it's an awesome opportunity to show what we have in Superior,” Olson said. “Our kids are great!”

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SHS choir director Jennifer Robbins said Modeen is a hard worker with a professional demeanor who does her best.

Superior talent shines in Northland

"This is a real feather in our cap as a choir program. I want SHS students to be proud of this accomplishment, not just for this one person but for all of us because we all sing together everyday at school," Robbins said. "We're all working musical excellence as a group and we're stronger for it."

On Monday, Oct. 3, the choir council plans to present Modeen with a good luck send-off during class and celebrate with gluten free Oreos, a treat she enjoys.

Love of singing

Modeen's vocal talent has been on display in productions and athletic fields across the area for years.

She started performing at age 8 with the Duluth Playhouse, as a dancing flower in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Most recently, she performed in SHS productions of “Spongebob: The Musical” and “A Christmas Carol.”

During the pandemic, Modeen put together a virtual Christmas concert for a local nursing home, Nicole said. She donates her time to sing the national anthem at events ranging from baseball games to the auto races.

“Singing the national anthem is kind of like a tradition. And just being able to sing it for people ... I just like the smiles on people’s faces,” the sophomore said.

Modeen has loved singing since she was a toddler. Her three younger brothers remember Modeen recruiting them into a living room band.

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In addition to theater and singing, Modeen is involved in softball and danceline at SHS and swims with the Superior-Douglas County Family YMCA Whalers.

Now, she’s turning her focus to auditioning for both “American Idol” and the upcoming SHS play, “The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza.”

Next steps

How does the silver ticket work? It is a chance for Modeen, who will use the stage name Belle Rose, to audition without having to travel and wait in line. She’s meeting with producers soon.

“If she makes it past producers, she will go straight to the judges at a determined location,” Nicole said.

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Belle Modeen, a sophomore at Superior High School, poses for a photo. Modeen, who will use the stage name Belle Rose, was presented with a silver ticket to audition for the singing competition "American Idol."
Contributed / Nicole Modeen

The judges for the show are Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Season 21 of “American Idol” is expected to air in the spring on ABC.

Modeen said some of her favorite “American Idol” contestants have been Kelly Clarkson from season one and Fritz Hager III from season five.

Her career goals include performing on Broadway, writing her own music and going to law school. When she returned home with the silver ticket, Modeen dove right into homework.

"I feel like education should come first, and I should still find time to do all my homework," she said.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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