Fourth annual Mizzou Idol sells out Missouri Theatre

This was the first year the competition allowed the audience to live-stream performances from the Internet.
Marrissanne Lewis-Thompson sings "Rolling in the Deep" on Friday night at the Missouri Theatre. Lewis-Thompson was named champion of Mizzou Idol.

The fourth annual Mizzou Idol competition took place Friday in the Missouri Theatre and showcased a wide range of talent as students performed a variety of songs, ranging from Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

The sold-out singing competition, sponsored by the Residence Halls Association, Missouri Students Association/ Graduate Professional Council and College Music Committee, is based off the hit show “American Idol.”

“(Mizzou Idol) just keeps growing every year, and this is the first time it has sold out,” said Kenton Gewecke, RHA programming coordinator and host. “The talent is the best we have seen so far.”

Ten students competed as semifinalists in this competition, and three were determined as “wild card” contestants. All of the competitors auditioned before the competition. The wild-card contestants competed against each other in the first round and only one joined the finalists.

The audience determined the winner of the wild card round by texting or tweeting in their choice. It was also the first Mizzou Idol to be live-streamed over the Internet, allowing anyone to vote from home.

Sophomore Brooke Burchill, sophomore Megan Red and freshman Armani Cross competed in the wild card round, but Cross wowed the audience and was sent to compete with the semifinalists.

Three judges then determined which six contestants moved to the finalist round and which student became the Mizzou Idol winner. The judges were former Department of Student Life member Lauren Karr, radio personality Kevin Walsh and MU School of Music professor Christine Seitz.

This year, the judges were looking for contestants that could bring a new aspect to the competition, while still connecting and engaging the audience.

“We want to see how their voices work with their stage presence,” said Karr. “If they make it to the final round, I would like to see if they can change it up, change genres.”

The contestants performed a wide variety of songs. Cross came back to sing “I’m Walking on Sunshine,” and showed off her dance moves to the audience. Abbey Tingle sang her own rendition of “Thrift Shop.” Gibraun Mitchell, one of two men who competed, won over the girls in the audience as he sang “Let Me Love You” by Mario while playing the piano.

“You can tell the girls love you,” Seitz said of his performance. “What a sweet sound.”

After the ten contestants performed, the judges deliberated. The six chosen finalists were Paige Flores, Jenny Teator, Gibraun Mitchell, Chantel George, Abbey Tingle and Marrissanne Lewis-Thompson.

Each contestant came back and performed a second song for the final round. Abbey Tingle preformed “Too Close” by Alex Clare and was voted as Fan Favorite by the audience.

Second place went to Jenny Teator, who performed an original song during the finals round.

However, Lewis-Thompson’s “Hallelujah” performance impressed the judges and won her the first place trophy.

“All the motions came straight from the heart,” Walsh said of her performance. “It was not staged at all.”

As the first place winner, Lewis-Thompson won $400 and the opportunity to sing the national anthem at a sporting event next year.

“It has been a mind-blowing experience,” Lewis-Thompson said. “I just wanted to come out and strut my stuff.”

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