Three win Faith Idol titles
By Hugh Fisher
FAITH — Competition was tough at this year’s Faith Idol singing contest.
During the first round of competition last week, ties in the youth and adult categories led to four finalists being chosen instead of the usual three.
But in the end, only three out of the 11 finalists could come away winners.
Monday, after more than an hour of singing followed by deliberations, Carson Sifford was named the winner 12-and-under division for his performance of the Lee Greenwood hit “God Bless the USA.”
Kayla McClendon won in the 13-to-18 category for her rendition of “I Will Always Love You.”
And Jon Eagle won the adult division for his performance of “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”
Singers and songs ran the gamut from pop-rock by Bruno Mars to country by Martina McBride and Reba McEntyre.
“It’s been a tough competition,” said Pam Alexander, one of the event’s organizers.
Karon Goble, this year’s head judge, said the panel has a difficult task.
Alexander said judges are chosen from around the county based on their experience with music.
Each singer is graded on appearance, performance and vocal ability.
“Performance” in this case means energy and stage presence, “how they interpret the song,” Goble said.
They score each of those categories 1, 2 or 3.
No zeroes, she said, because it takes a lot to get up in front of hundreds of people to sing.
“The judges don’t talk that much,” Alexander said. “And that’s just so there’s no hurt feelings.”
Goble said the panel of judges changes from year to year.
Some audience members said they’d have trouble choosing from among the performances, too.
“Don’t ask me!” said Sharoyn Burroughs of Kannapolis. “I’d hate to be the judge.”
She said there was a lot of talent among people in Rowan County.
Dennis Strickland of Salisbury picked McClendon as a winner before her name was announced, saying she had executed a difficult song very well.
Each of the winners received a check for $500.
This was Eagle’s first year as a participant.
The 31-year-old Salisbury resident regularly sings at South Albemarle Baptist Church.
“Anytime I can sing about the Lord, it’s an honor,” Eagle said.
McClendon, 14, said she’d tried to put a lot of energy into her singing.
“I think it’s all about inspiring people,” she said.
Sifford, 11, said that at first he was afraid he’d forget the lyrics to the Lee Greenwood hit.
But in the end, he came through just fine.
Sifford said he picked “God Bless the USA” because it was appropriate to the nation’s birthday.
And, aside from that, “I just wanted to have fun,” Sifford said.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.