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Contestants serenade crowd, judges at Eastern Idol finals

Technical difficulties were not able to stop the EU Idol show hosted by International Justice Mission the Thursday before Easter. The Dining Commons was filled with an estimated 160 students by 8:30 p.m. Due to a video of recorded auditions that wouldn’t start, the show was delayed by nearly half an hour.

The time contstraints did not stop there. Once the show started, judges and hosts realized that there would be no time for all four rounds of the show.

“That’s something you learn from doing the first time,” said senior Katie Gorman, one of the judges who helped decide to cut the final fourth round. “We adjusted as we went along.”

Fortunately, the rest of the evening met and even exceeded IJM’s expectations.

“It was better than we could have ever planned,” said sophomore and IJM vice president Grace Nucifore. This, she credited to performers as well as sophomore hosts Jon Heinly and Josh Meyer.

Heinly and Meyer kept the crowd entertained by poking fun at the judges and interviewing contestants for interesting facts (such as first-year Abbey Reed’s long middle toe).

The hosts were not the only ones to provide humor. Four planned, intentionally funny performances, alleviated the tension of competition and kept the crowd laughing.

One such act was by first-year Jon Falcone and the rap group he called “Drive Thru”. After rapping about pet farm animals, complete with the appropriate sounds (“cock-a-doodle-doo-doodly-doo”), “Drive Thru” received playful criticism.

“You can just drive thru the back door,” was Gorman’s only comment, while senior judge Bryan Broughton encouraged the guys in their “bright future on PBS.”

Other joke performances appeared that were not planned.

For her second round, Reed stood up to replace her planned performance of “Let It Be” by the Beatles with a deep-throated “Always and Forever” from Napolean Dynamite.

“I didn’t honestly think I had a chance at the second round,” Reed explained. She decided to sing the song after taking a dare from a student seated next to her.

“I just kind of felt like I need to change it up a bit,” she said.

The real competition carried on to the third and final round, leaving sophomore Andrew Miller and first-years Rebecca Jones, Natalie Cisternas and Ahalia Simmons.

Though the panel rarely agreed on any of their criticism, according to Shelly and Gorman, they found a way to make a final decision: Miller as runner-up and Jones as EU Idol.

For the judges, it was Jones’ inexperience (as a non-music major) yet hard work that won her the prize.

“Becky had a very good voice but didn’t have all the performance and dynamic that Andy and other contestants had,” Shelly said. This is what made Jones even more impressive.

“She blew me away,” Gorman said.

Sophomore and IJM president Mallory Mussler was pleased with the end results.

“We wanted the audience to decide,” Mussler said. “Based on the last round, that’s what the judges did.”

The $400 raised will go toward IJM headquarters in D.C.

“This is about justice around the world and saving kids from horrible situation,” Gorman said.

“If we can contribute to that, I think that’s a wonderful thing, and something we should definitely do more of here.”

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