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Former Miss America sings ‘Jesus Take The Wheel’ on American Idol: 'I am nothing' without God

Betty Maxwell
Former Miss America auditions for American Idol 2022 |

Season 20 of “American Idol” is underway and 2016 Miss America Betty Maxwell received a unanimous “yes” from the judges after performing a rendition of “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

The former Miss Georgia attended her audition with her beauty pageant crown in tow.

She first performed “A Moment Like This” by American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson. Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan then asked Maxwell, whose maiden name is Cantrell, to sing another song.

Maxwell chose “Jesus Take the Wheel,” made known by another American Idol alum, Carrie Underwood.

The singer performed the song acapella and was given unanimous approval, advancing her to Hollywood Week of the competition. 

Choosing the faith-filled song is a reflection of Maxwell’s beliefs. Following the airing of her audition, the Miss America winner took to Instagram to give glory to God. 

“For the past 5 or 6 years I’ve dealt with imposter syndrome…I feel that I don’t deserve the blessings and success in my life,” Maxwell wrote on Instagram on Monday, the day after her audition aired. “I feel like I’m unworthy of the praise and the talents God gave me. I don’t know why…maybe part of it is just the pressure to always have something bigger and better on the horizon.”

The singer said she believes she’s just a “normal girl” from a farm in Georgia, and that is what helps her stay humble.

“I’m always so thankful because I don’t feel like I deserve it. No matter what, I just focus on giving all the glory to God because without Him, I am nothing,” she declared.

In a past interview with Inspiration.org, Maxwell shared her testimony.

“As a kid, my parents took us to church every Sunday. My faith was definitely something that my parents made predominant in my life and something that I was always made very aware of growing up and how important that is,” she said.

“Your parents are always telling you, ‘This is so important. This is so important. You need to practice this. Practice your faith. You need to pray. These are all things that are going to benefit you. These are all things that are so important in this life. Your faith and relationship with God is the most important thing.’ But to actually have a moment in your life where you realize that and choose that for yourself and on your own, not because your parents told you to, but because you choose it. You want that. I’ve had that happen.” 

Maxwell said she didn't make the personal decision to walk with Christ until she was older. She said it came about when she decided to embrace her faith for herself. 

“I wanted a different relationship with God where I was the one putting in the effort every day to make sure that even in whatever career path I’m going down, that I’m using that to promote God’s Word and to do what God wants me to do in this life, she added.

“People think that you have to be involved in something religious or some sort of ministry in order to live out God’s Word, but that’s not true. With the power of social media, no matter what your job is, no matter what career field you’re in, you have the opportunity and the power to promote your faith and to promote God’s love in this world.”

The pageant coach said she intends to use her giftings as a singer, actress, model and motivational speaker to share her faith.

“I take the opportunity whenever possible to put God’s Word out there in subtle ways that aren’t attacking people but in a way that hopefully helps others. I hope if you see this on your social media, it brightens your day. I hope you needed to hear this or needed some comfort today, so I’m going to put that out there just in case. It’s up to us to choose that each day,” Maxwell said.

The singer also revealed in the interview that following her Miss America victory, she has a passion for helping others live out “God’s will” in their lives. 

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