Oct 222006
Authors: Drew Haugen

For $2 on Friday night, I got my money’s worth.

The first round of the OriginIdol Competition kicked off in the Lory Student Center’s Ramskeller on Friday night and, to say the least, I was impressed.

A spin-off of the American Idol concept, OriginIdol’s contestants perform songs live for the audience and a panel of judges, and then face criticism from the judges. Afterward, audience voting determines who proceeds to the next round.

And while American Idol may be one of the most popular television shows in America, I think OriginIdol conceptually triumphs.

Rather than performing other artists’ songs, contestants in OriginIdol play original songs. And although my heart melts whenever I hear Clay Aiken’s rendition of Heatwave’s hit “Forever and Always,” CSU students displayed true original talent on Friday night.

From a country-singing cowboy to a poppy techno trio, the original breadth of the nine contestants was entertaining.

Including two bands and seven soloists, the range of music was wide.

But originality is not the only appeal of OriginIdol. With an emcee who would blow Ryan Seacrest out of the water (KCSU’s “Cash”), the enthusiasm of the event was infectious.

Trying to watch American Idol, I could never get excited about the judges’ feedback section. The excitement of the American Idol contestant’s music and performance is outweighed by the negativity that follows.

If you are an artist who has the guts to get on stage and perform, the last thing you need is a Briton ripping on your performance, talent, appearance or style.

And while some artists on Friday night might have needed some work on tonality, rhythm or stage presence, OriginIdol was an ideal venue for CSU artists to test material in a safe environment.

The two-judge panel for OriginIdol provided feedback, too, following the contestants’ performances. But the funny thing was, I didn’t catch a negative comment all night.

That isn’t to say the judges weren’t critical – they were. But if they were critical, it was constructive.

Maybe Simon Cowell could take some pages out of the OriginIdol judges’ book on positive commentary and respectful behavior.

The most disappointing part of the night came when I surveyed my surroundings. The Skeller was not even near full capacity, with somewhere between 50 and 70 people in attendance; some of that free pizza no doubt went cold and uneaten.

On Friday, the second and final round of OriginIdol will kick off at 7 p.m. in the Ramskeller when the four semi-finalists will be narrowed to the winning contestant.

Come out and support CSU’s original talent, because one day it may be you on the stage.

Drew Haugen is a senior international studies major. His column appears every Monday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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