Bowie Idol: Season 2
The Great American Smoke- out
By Auburn Mann
Seats filled up quickly with anticipation over the talent that was about to be witnessed on Nov. 19 in CLT 102 for the second season of Bowie State University's vocal talent show "Bowie Idol."
The singing showcase featured hosts Cherrie Moody and Kirk Pressley as well as judges "Randy Jackson," "Paula Abdul," "Simon Cowell" and guest judge "Bowie Beats" played by Bryant Stewart. The event intended to raise and educate on the issue of smoking and its potentially deadly effects on environmental wellness. In order to facilitate smoke prevention on campus and hopefully inspiring those who are smoking to quit, with a $5,000 grant from the Prince George's County health department sponsoring the activities of the evening.
The night began with a performance by musical artist Solo who also opened up for Yardfest during 2009 Homecoming. Following this was a special appearance by last year's Bowie Idol winner Antoine Carter who graced the audience once again with a couple of verses from "Sweet Lady" by Tyrese. From here the program launched into what everybody was waiting for: the final round of the contest, with five finalists eager to compete for the title of "Bowie Idol" 2009 -2010.
The first up was junior Kelvin Benford with "She Don't Have to Know" by John Legend. Judges "Simon" and "Randy" critiqued as too mellow with a lack of animation and movement to compliment his voice, Randy said "his whole performance was in shell."
The next up was Damascus Franklin who sang "Incomplete" By Sisqo, with a performance that got very involved with the audience. Judge "Paula" claimed it "dazzled her ears." According to Judges "Randy" and "Simon" at the beginning his performance, similar to Kelvin was done in a "shell." However, as it progressed, he stepped outside his comfort zone and was able to fully display his, as "Randy" stated, "seasoned voice."
Following this was the intermission activities, which included a dance contest featuring a few members from the audience, who danced to Chris Brown's "I Can Transform You." In addition, staff members of the BSU Wellness Center put on a skit depicting hypothetical scenarios of people who are suffering from health complications from smoking, and of people resisting peer pressure to smoke, and the freedom of quitting smoking.
After the break the "Bowie Idol" contest continued with Deven Collins Sick with it style of hip-hop-poetry. All the judges impressed with her confidence throughout the performance, and strong expression of emotion. The fourth contestant was Shannon Courtney, who picked an inspirational piece by Christina Aguilera. This earned only praise by the judges. "Paula" described it as "the perfect choice." "Randy" said "it was calming to my soul," as well being the "greatest vocal performance of the night." Even Simon said she "came out to win."
The last contestant was Mike Gahne who with the help of his guitarist Dave created a rock version of "Best I Ever Had" by Drake. This received the greatest applause and cheers from the audience. One interesting fact about Mike is that he was also a contestant in last year's contest to become Bowie Idol, however, was eliminated in the preliminary round. This was commented on by Judge "Randy" saying "this shows the reward of perseverance and example of what can happen if you never give up." Paula said that "the performance was very surprising." Bowie Beats was even impressed on how they "flipped the switch." However, as usual "Simon" was a party killer commenting on how they "lacked professionalism," since he wasn't able to memorize the entire song.
Furthermore, it was finally time to cast votes and determine who this year's "Bowie Idol" was going to be. After, all the suspense, the ballots were counted up and in Cinderella fashion, Mike Gahne and Dave were the 2009-2010 "Bowie Idol", with a $200 gift card to the BSU bookstore. Second place was Shannon Courtney who received a $100 gift card to the bookstore. Third place went to Demarcus Franklin.
Overall, everyone seemed pleased at the outcome. One member of the audience Eugene Craig commented on how he felt "The winners earned their positions and their performances definitely warranted their victory." As everyone started to exit the CLT 102 Solo closed out the evening with one more performance, singing one of his original pieces.