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Mizzou Idol puts student talent in the spotlight

Sixteen contestants competed for judges Friday in Jesse Auditorium.

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Senior Alicia Davis performs Friday night during Mizzou Idol in Jesse Auditorium. Sixteen contestants performed Friday for 1,500 audience members in Jesse Auditorium.

Kayla Huett/Senior Staff Photographer

Feb. 22, 2011

Just as American Idol has made Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood into worldwide stars, Mizzou Idol gave singers the chance to shine in a similar but more modest format. Sixteen contestants performed Friday for 1,500 audience members in Jesse Auditorium.

“It’s my escape,” senior Alyssa Kelly, the competition's winner, said. “Singing and music in general have gotten me through the good times and the bad, and as cliché as it sounds, I literally get lost in my music and get to forget about reality for a little while.”

Kelly first began singing in front of people her freshman year in her residence hall’s talent show and said she hasn’t been able to stop singing since.

“I’ve been told I have a really raw, natural voice,” Kelly said. “I think my voice is pretty unique and I guess I offered something a little different. Mizzou Idol is just another outlet for me to share my music.”

Sophomore Brianne Boland received second place and also voiced a passion for showing off his singing chops.

“I can't even remember when I started singing,” Boland said. “I guess somewhere along the line I opened my mouth and realized that I really liked the feeling of music coming out.”

Boland is a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and volleyball player for MU’s club team.

She describes her voice as folksy.

“I definitely don't have the very best or most outstanding voice out of everyone who tried out, but the judges told me I had a really unique sound,” Boland said. “I guess for this competition, just being different makes you stand out a little more.”

In addition to Kelly and Boland, Symonne Sparks and Stephanie Sander also were chosen for the final round of performances.

“The importance of music to me shows my character through my lyrics combined with a sweet sound,” Sparks said. “You can take your heart's poetic words and make people understand and remember them by adding a melody on piano.”

Sophomore Paige Flores sang her version of “Firework” by Katy Perry.

“Mizzou Idol means so much to me, because it shows how much talent we have at this school,” Flores said. “Every single contestant has something truly special about them, and being given the chance to show that is something I think should be cherished.”

Flores is a broadcast journalism major and has been singing ever since she can remember.

For Flores, making and performing music is an exceptional feeling.

“It's genuine happiness that is impossible to replace,” Flores said. “Music fills any and every gap I encounter. Regardless of the outcome of the competition, seeing all the support I had was winning in my eyes.”

Although country singer Eric Hollenbach did not make it into the final round, he plans to audition again next year.

“It was very laid back and not really that stressful,” Hollenbach said. “Everyone was friendly and it was a really fun process. It was an awesome experience, even though I only got to sing for a minute.”

Each contestant had to make it through several vigorous rounds of auditions in November to make it onstage. Out of about 80 students who auditioned, 12 made it as finalists.

Four of the contestants who failed to make it to the final round were made wildcards.

“Music is truly indescribable,” Boland said. “It's that look on your face when your jaw subconsciously drops a bit and your eyes sort of glaze over in pure awe and you feel all the beauty in all the world swirling around you. You just can't put words to that feeling.”

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