Students cheer for favorites in BYU Idol

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    By Samantha Shirley

    It may not have been broadcast on national television, but nerves were still running high for the singers at Wednesday”s BYU Idol competition. The performers mastered those fears, though, and showcased the vocal talent BYU has to offer.

    The 12 singers gave entertaining performances, and some even got the audience in the Varsity Theater of the Wilkinson Student Center on their feet, dancing.

    The three winners – two chosen by decibel meter from the crowd reaction and one by the judges – will advance to the final round April 8, and compete for the grand prize, a $100 gift certificate to the BYU Bookstore.

    Jenna Baker, a freshman from Fairfax, Va., won first place for her performance of “You”ll Never Walk Alone,” from the musical “Carousel.”

    Baker said she wasn”t expecting to win this round of the competition though – she was just doing it for fun.

    “I”m shocked, and I”m excited,” she said.

    Getting up on stage can be nerve-wracking for performers, but Baker thrives on this stress.

    “I like the nerves; I think they make me perform better,” she said. “I perform for myself and as long as I do my best I”m satisfied.”

    Second place winner Ben Murphy, an English major from Sydney, Australia, involved the audience and got them laughing with his performance of “In the Still of the Night,” by Boyz II Men.

    Heather Hogue, a BYU Idol judge and former president of the A Cappella Club, called Murphy”s rendition of the song “refreshing.”

    This month”s judges all have vocal training, and they recognize the importance of both singing and performing well.

    “Nine parts of performance are audience perception,” said Rachel Willis-Sorensen, a judge and a vocal performance graduate student at BYU.

    The judges” pick to advance to the final in April was Katie Abernathy, a senior majoring in Humanities from Fairfax, Va.

    Abernathy followed Willis-Sorensen”s advice and entertained the audience with her interpretation of Natalie Cole”s “Orange Colored Sky.”

    “It was intentional and committed,” Willis-Sorensen said of Abernathy”s performance.

    Rick Kesler, the third judge and the current president of the BYU A Cappella Club, complimented all the singers on their songs.

    “Being out there on stage is really intimidating,” Kesler said. “Good job to everyone who performed.”

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