Who will be the Cassville Idol?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Democrat Photos/Lindsay Reed Idols in the making Cassville Middle School students Camille Holman and Brianna Hemphill offered impressive performances during the quarter-final round of the Cassville Idol contest, which was held in the middle school gymnasium on Feb. 14. Holman, pictured above, sang "Walkin' On Sunshine," and Hemphill, pictured below, sang "Hallelujah."

Only four contestants remain in the Cassville Middle School Idol competition. Those students will perform in the semi-final round on March 28, and the final performance will be held sometime in April.

On Feb. 14, the top six contestants had an opportunity to wow CMS students in the middle school gymnasium. The theme the latest performances was 1980s music.

Last Thursday, Shelby Jo Taylor performed "I Don't Want to Miss A Thing," and Sky Dill sang "Why Not Me?" The other four performers were: Sarah Shumaker, who sang "Every Breath You Take;" Camille Holman, who sang "Walking On Sunshine;" Brianna Hemphill, who performed "Hallelujah;" and Alex Mackey, who performed "Don't Stop Believin'."

In addition to the student singing performances, middle school students who attended the show had an opportunity to hear Kay Hughes sing "Love You Forever" with accompaniment by coach Mandy Henry.

"Our middle school Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) team decided to use the Cassville Idol competition as part of their celebrations throughout the year to reward students who have met the behavioral expectations," said Becky Haynes, CMS media specialist, who has organized the competition.

"We wanted to showcase the talent at the middle school," continued Haynes. "There are so many students at the middle school who can really sing, but no one knows that. Last year, at the spring concert, I was blown away by some of the students singing. I had no idea how talented they were because we don't get the opportunity to see them in this realm very often."

At the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, over 50 Cassville Middle School students auditioned for the Cassville Idol contest. A group of teachers served as the initial judging panel and selected 24 contestants for this year's competition.

In addition to Taylor, Dill, Shumaker, Holman, Hemphill and Mackey, contestants included: Bailey Hendrix, Stephanie Erway, Dakota Moss, Lindsay Moss, Megan Sloan, Sabrina Richardson, Amber Large, Abby Atkinson, Lou Tankersly, Braden Branham, Lexie Wilson, Laura Stringer, Kassie Moore, Ying Thao, Cidney Harrison, Cheyenne Westfall, Kaitlyn Stockton and Jeremiah Davidson.

At the beginning of the school year, students performed once a month, but as contestants were eliminated from the competition, performances were changed to every six weeks.

"They choose their songs," said Haynes. "We started off the competition with the contestant's choice, and then we began giving them a genre. We have done patriotic in the month of November, and we did 1970s."

Students practice their song during their own free time. They are required to perform the entire song for the middle school audience.

"The contestants are given a number that they wear, just like on 'American Idol.'" said Haynes. "The students then hand vote for their favorite, and we count them the old fashioned way.

"We have tossed around using technology in some way to cast votes, but at the middle school level we kept coming up with reasons not to do it electronically, voting more than once, not at all or students bullying others to vote for someone," continued Haynes. "The way we vote, students have less time to persuade others to vote their way."

As soon as the competition ended last Thursday afternoon, by grade level, students were invited to make their way to the gymnasium floor, take pieces of paper and cast their votes for this year's Cassville Idol.

"Typically, they know who has been eliminated the next morning," said Haynes. "We simply announce who will be continuing on over the intercom system.

"We never eliminate only one contestant at a time because I think that would be more heartbreaking to be the only one eliminated that round," added Haynes.

Taylor, Holman, Hemphill and Mackey will continue in the competition and perform in the semi-final round on March 28.

The winner and runner-up for this year's competition will receive gift baskets with iTune gift cards, books and other items.

"The competition allows them to showcase their talent and gives them experience speaking and performing in front of a crowd," said Haynes. "Plus, it is a PBIS reward for all students who qualifty to watch the competitions by displaying good behavior."

Cassville Idol contestants are in sixth through eighth grades.

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