The Triumphant Return of Tehachapi Idol


Micaela Pryor

Aubrey McDonald, 30; Lily Seymour, 14; Ashley Bishop, 17; Haylee York; Destani Boswell, 35; Hannah Clare, 18; John Schwartz, 29; Brinley Marks,12.

Sunday July 10 marked the return of Tehachapi Idol at Big Papa's Steakhouse and Saloon. In previous years, the singing contest had been held at Pacino's, but by popular demand has been brought back to life. Tickets sold quickly, and the room was packed full of friends and family there to support contestants. The competition is similar to American Idol in that singers choose songs based on a theme and are voted off one by one through the rounds. Tehachapi Idol gives people of all sorts the opportunity to do what they all love: sing! "Singing is my passion. It's my number one," contestant Aubrey McDonald stated, "I think that the more practice you get, the better you can get with stage presence. You feel more comfortable getting out there because you love what you're doing."

Lily Seymour, Ashley Bishop, Haylee York, Aubrey McDonald, Destani Boswell, Hannah Clare, John Schwartz, Brinley Marks, and Ken Yule each sang a song of their choice in front of the Big Papa's crowd, with only a few technical difficulties here and there. Some contestants, such as John Schwartz and Hannah Clare, brought their own instruments to accompany their singing. In the first round, no one was eliminated, but buckets bearing the names of each signer were passed around in which viewers placed their votes.

The second round of Tehachapi Idol commenced on Sunday, July 17. This time around, the singers chose oldies songs to entertain the crowd -- anything from the 1970s or earlier was fair game. Some performers dressed for the theme -- Destani Boswell's upturned shirt collar harkened back to Tom Cruise in Risky Business, and Lily Seymour's poodle skirt was era-appropriate for singing "Jailhouse Rock". The stage area came equipped with a colorful light show that enhanced every performance.

Performers were chosen at random times, so each of them had to stay on their toes, ready to sing. Votes from the previous week were combined with this week's, and the top three places were established. Brinley Marks, who sang "Crazy" by Patsy Cline, and Josh Schwartz, who sang "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers, tied for first place. Lily Seymour, placed second and Ashley Bishop, who sang "Natural Woman" placed third. "I love to sing, and I've never competed before, so I thought it would be a cool experience," says Lily Seymour, "I've sung in school choirs and church worship teams. It's so much fun." Tehachapi Idol may be a competition, but the people in it are clearly here to have fun.

Ken Yule could not make it to this week's round, so he was eliminated, allowing the other eight performers to continue. The contest will continue over the next seven weeks, Sundays at 6:30 p.m. Next week's theme will be Disney, so come see who moves on in the competition. Seats are first come, first serve, and tables fill up fast, so be sure to get there early.


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