As always, a large crowd of students, community members and relatives of performers turned out to enjoy YHS Idol on Mon., Jan. 12.

   YHS Idol is an opportunity for high school students to showcase their singing ability and instrumental skills. It is also a chance to honor friends and family or to publically declare a crush through song dedications.

   YHS Idol is sponsored by Parents for a Safe Prom and the YHS Competitive Cheer Team. Bailey Franzen, a senior representative of the Cheer Team, was the Mistress of Ceremony. YHS Idol is almost entirely student driven; the student head this year was senior Hailey Baugh. For judges, unfortunately Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr. were unable to attend the event; therefore, Kim Velk, Scott Luken, and Angie Luken stood in.

   The 17 talented performances this year ranged from solos to ensembles. Each act had seven minutes to set up and perform. The contest typically consists of mainly choir students, but Hailey Baugh says, “It is nice to see others outside of choir participate. For example, Rachel Orton has done it since freshman year, and she is phenomenal.”

   Baugh has also been involved since freshman year, and she explains that her favorite part about the competition is that “It’s great to have a chance to perform without limitations.”

   The night began on an interesting note and continued on with many surprises. 

   The first act was a vocal duet with Cody Geary and Taylor Wesseln. Apparently Taylor’s previous partner was unable to attend so she asked Cody at 4:00 that afternoon to sing with her. Because of the late timing, Cody had to read the lyrics from his phone which was strapped to his arm. In true teenager fashion, Cody and Taylor managed a fantastic performance despite the last minute switch.

   For the second act, Hailey Baugh performed a unique rendition of the popular song “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley. She chose that song because it was the first song that she performed at YHS, and now it will also be the last. She performed without a microphone, and put her own twist on the well-known melody.

   Ms. Velk’s comment on the performance was, “That song is very near and dear to me, but your rendition was brilliant.”

   A popular choice, that song was sung twice more.

   Hailey Baugh and Rachel Orton are not the only senior veteran performers. Olivia Hudson, Sam Carda, and Cody Geary have also participated at each grade level. To commemorate their dedication, they teamed up and all sang together. They chose “Wake me up” by Avicii because it represents their future plans after graduation. Ms. Velk gave the advice, “Seniors, always have fun with what you pursue.”

   Juniors Rachel Wood and Ashley Schweitzer sang a duet together, and they also each had a solo vocal. Their song choices, which included “Game Over” and “Believe Me,” were original compositions.

   Much cousinly love was present during Casey Thomas’s performance of “King of the Road.”

   Senior Andi Sprakel says she is Casey’s biggest fan, and she let the auditorium know through her vocal support. During the judges critique Ms. Velk said, “Obviously Andi knew you had it in you.”

   Cody Geary secured the competition and won over the crowd with an emotional performance of, “One Tin Soldier.” That song has a very special meaning to Cody; it is the first song his mom ever taught him to play on the piano. Cody’s mom passed away five years ago, and this song has held a special place in his heart ever since. Upon completing his performance, Ms. Velk had no words; she could only go up on stage and give Cody a hug.

   To determine the winners, each judge scored every act out of 100 points based on stage presence, talent, audience response, and accompaniment for a total score out of 300 points. Third place went to Maddie Smith with 265 points, 2nd place to Joseph Kelly with 266, and Cody Geary was crowned champion with an outstanding score of 297 points.

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