MOUNT VERNON — Black clouds rolled by, but the atmosphere on Public Square Friday evening was anything but gloomy during the 2012 Knox Idol contest.
Four singers in the Youth Division, ages 14-18, and five vocalists in the Young Adult division, ages 19-29, took to the stage for the final two rounds of competition, having already survived preliminary rounds in front of a panel of judges.
Round 1 in the Youth Division began with 18-year-old Arie Alvarado singing the mellow “Melt My Heart to Stone.” Next up was 16-year-old Rachael Aust with an energetic rendition of “That’s the Way it Is.” Trey Caldwell, 15, added a touch of country with “Where Corn Don’t Grow” and Lisa May, 17, accompanying herself on the guitar, ended the round with “Who Will Sing Your Song?”
Victoria Bell and her guitar started off Round 1 in the Young Adult division. She performed “You and I.” Next, Leann Berg performed a crowd-pleasing “Georgia on My Mind,” and Ashley Burke brought in a little of Nashville with the rousing “Tough.” Taylor Carpenter, accompanying herself with her guitar, sang “How He Loves,” and the round ended with Michael Simmons performing “Walking in Memphis.”
As the votes were collected from audience members and counted, the impressive Colonial Kids kept the crowd going with songs such as “All That Jazz,” “Always Look on The Bright Side,” and appropriately enough for the weather, the hopeful “Here Comes the Sun.”
The top two performers with the most votes in each division moved on to the final round. Alvarado and May faced off in the Youth division. Alvarado sang “Have You Ever?” and May performed “Go Your Own Way.”
Young Adult finalist Berg’s second song was “Daniel,” and Simmons finished up with “Not Over You.”
The ultimate verdict from the audience: May is the 2012 Youth Knox Idol and Simmons the 2012 Young Adult Knox Idol.
May was thrilled with the win. “It’s been three years coming,” she said, “so I feel pretty fantastic.”
“I’m still not sure how I feel about it,” said Simmons. “I’m pretty pumped up, I’ll say that.”
May was presented a check for $200 and Simmons earned a $1,000 reward for his title. Second place winners also received a cash prize.
Matt Starr served as the contest emcee and Marcy Rinehart, Bruce Jacklin and Ruth Frady, judges for the preliminary rounds, offered comments and words of encouragement to the contestants after each song in Round 1. As the final votes were being tallied, the judges talked about Knox Idol.
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