The Ramskeller in the Lory Student Center was all abuzz Friday night as CSU Idol competitors prepared to take the stage for the competition's final night.
It was clear that audience members had become attached to their favorite singers over the weeks of competition, as they clapped, cheered and whistled louder than ever as competitors took the stage to perform. Some even wore homemade shirts bearing slogans relating to their favorite singers.
Although the competition was close, in the end it was soulful singer/songstress Veronica May, a senior music therapy major, who captured the audience's heart the most and took home the this year's CSU Idol crown.
May wooed the audience with the songs "I'm Sorry" and "Scrumpy Face." In traditional May style, both songs were packed with amazing guitar riffs, clever lyrics and powerful pauses that could silence any room. One of the ways May captured the audience members was through her ability to relax the crowd and make them feel like they were sitting in a quiet coffee shop watching her performance rather than at a crowded bar.
It wasn't always so easy for May to relax in front of the large Ramskeller group, however. She said that in the beginning she was a little frightened of the venue size.
"I definitely got more comfortable week to week," May said. "I don't know if anyone noticed, but the first week, one of my legs was shaking the entire time I was onstage."
May said one of the reasons it was so hard for her to initially get onstage was that she was performing original songs each week, which is something that is always hard to put out there in front of such a large group.
Judges and audience members alike, however, seemed to dig guitar players and songwriters, and sophomore open-option major Mark Phipps was dubbed this year's second-place Idol winner. Phipps' final Idol repertoire was two drastically different songs, one of which was written about the morning after, in which he playfully sang about "Lying next to me something hairy and scary." Phipps' other song was drastically different, however, and dealt with a rough time he went through in high school, yet he was always fortunate to have his parents at his side to support him.
The judges seemed to love glimpsing a more serious side of Phipps and one judge noted, "They say poetry is like putting your heart down on paper, and that's just what you've done."
While Phipps won the second place prize of a $150 gift certificate to the University Bookstore, he said that it was an honor just to have made it to the competition's final three.
Coming in at third place in this year's idol competition was freshman open-option major Jessica Harriman, who was more of a traditional "American Idol" competitor in the sense that she stuck to pop songs, ballads and classy evening gowns when she performed. At the final competition Harriman performed, "Adenine" and "Bridge over Troubled Water."
The first week of competition Harriman was criticized for making a wrong song choice, yet each week following, the judges continually dubbed her as, "the most improved" and as making "good song choices" from there on out.
Harriman said that after the first week she "sang more upbeat songs. I also tried to get more involved with the audience." Harriman received a $50 gift certificate to the bookstore.
While CSU Idol may have just ended, it is not quite over for May, who won a $300 gift certificate to the bookstore and recording time with Krueger Audio Productions.
"I've always wanted to pursue music as a career. I don't think I ever will full time, but maybe this will help me a little more," May said.
Look for more local performances from May in the future and perhaps the possibility of a CD release.