This Wilmington Native Is Appearing on “American Idol”

Tower Hill School graduate Margery Saunders is a contestant on the ABC singing competition’s second season.


AMERICAN IDOL – Coverage. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)


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It’s all been leading up to this. The middle school voice lessons. The move to Los Angeles to kickstart a music career. And, of course, the hours spent in front of the TV watching “American Idol.”

“She said, ‘Mom, can you believe that this is the show we used to watch? I’m on the show!’” says Alice Saunders of Wilmington, whose daughter, Margery, appears on “American Idol” Sunday. Margery’s father is Dr. Chris Saunders, a cosmetic surgeon with offices in Newark, Wilmington and Chadds Ford.

In the years since graduating from Tower Hill School, Margery Saunders has certainly not been idle. The day after she graduated from Stanford in 2015, she moved 350 miles south to attend the Los Angeles College of Music.

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Margery, her mother says, has taken to the West Coast — the weather, the people, the hot yoga.

“She took me once, oh my God, I was not prepared for this,” Alice says.

Margery sings under the catchier stage name “Margie Mays,” making use of her middle, rather than last, name. She focuses on pop, but has a spectacular range, her mother says. (To get a better feel for her music, visit her website.)

“American Idol,” which debuted in 2002 on Fox but was renewed on ABC in 2017, is known for its acid-tongued judges. Alice Saunders knows the reaction her daughter got during taping but has signed an agreement preventing her from talking about it.

“We’ve been holding the secret that she was on “American Idol” for months,” she says. “We’re getting used to it.”

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The episode begins at 8 p.m., as does a viewing party at Wilmington Country Club

No matter how it turns out Sunday and beyond, Alice Saunders believes the appearance will open doors for her daughter. And she’s trying to replace her anxiety with confidence.

“She’s a hard worker, very smart, she’s kinda got the whole package,” she says. “I’m not trying to brag or anything, but she’s beautiful, she’s funny, not arrogant.”


Margie Mays appeared on the show’s March 3 premiere. Watch her audition and the judge’s reactions below.

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