Finalists chosen for Heartland Idol
BY CHRISTY SWIFTSEBRING - The Heartland Idol competition whittled down to five contestants Thursday night during a 1980s themed singing showdown, and the outfits didn’t disappoint.
Published: March 22, 2013
Published: March 22, 2013
Big hair, fishnet stockings, fingerless gloves and lots of chartreuse went up against black leather and Miami Vice. In the end, the winners were Adam Meredith, Mary Hazel Teope, Lindsey Sears, Gary Johnson, and Ashley Nicole Elder. Also competing that night were semi-finalists Michelle Macbeth and Johanna Johnston.
One contestant, Erin Sena, did not compete as her music was not submitted on time for the competition.
People’s Choice winner Meredith rocked the crowd to the Billy Idol tune “White Wedding,” pumping his fist and leaping off the stage at one point to engage the audience. He even included details like Idol’s signature lip curl.
Judge Michelle Cathy appreciated the theatrics. “I was super excited! I felt like I was at an actual concert,” she said.
“Wonderful,” added judge Jim Johnson.
Teope performed Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” in a black and pink tutu, fishnet stockings, and oversized hair bow.
“You knocked it out of the park again,” said Johnson. “Excellent vocals, great stage presence,” added judge Matt Christian.
Lindsey Sears won her spot with “Don’t Rush Me” by Taylor Dayne. “I’ve been a fan since the first year,” said judge Vickie Watson, who said she was used to hearing Sears sing country. “You did a great job,” she added.
Gary Johnson delivered a smooth performance of Wham!’s “Careless Whisper.” Compared to George Clooney at a past event, this time Johnson was reminiscent of Don Johnson in his turquoise sport coat.
“You did a really good job. The women were swooning,” remarked judge Marisa Layne.
Judge Dustin Woods said Johnson had accomplished a special feat - performing a timeless song in a way that takes people back to when they first heard it. “I’m glad you are an entertainer in our community,” he told Johnson.
Lastly, Elder stepped onstage in full Michael Jackson get up to perform “Man in the Mirror.” On top of the hat, white glove, and sparkly white socks, Elder also incorporated signature Jackson moves that earned her stage presence points with Woods.
Elder had a big grin on her face as she performed. “You are stronger and more confident the more you get up there,” remarked Christian.
The Senior Idol competition was also held Thursday night with three competitors. Eighty-six-year-old Charlie Barksdale won it singing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and received a standing ovation from the crowd as well as a gift bag including show tickets from the Highlands Little Theatre.
Barksdale competed against 65-year-old Sharon English singing “Unchain My Heart” by Joe Cocker and 67-year-old Tanglewood Resident Bob Leonardo singing Rod Stewart’s “I’ll Stand By You.”
A surprise anti-bullying flash mob appeared during the event made up of mostly middle schoolers and sponsored by the Heartland Rural Health Network, Drug-free Highlands, and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Alliance.
Next week, the Heartland Idol finale will take place on a Saturday rather than a Thursday. The festivities will begin at 3 p.m., March 30, at the YMCA with games, an Easter egg hunt, an Oreo eating contest, hot wing eating contest, vendors and more.
The show will begin at 7 p.m. where finalists will sing a song chosen by the judges and a second song of their own choosing. First place wins $2,000, second wins $1,000, and third takes home $500.