Apr 27, 2010

Simon Cowell, Meet Ergun Caner

by Betsy Abraham

From Kelly Clarkson in season one celebrating “A Moment Like This,” to Carrie Underwood asking Jesus to take the wheel, people cannot seem to get enough of American Idol. The nationwide phenomenon has viewers gathering in front of televisions twice a week to watch ordinary people become the next big celebrity.  All these people have one thing in common – they are ordinary people looking for a way to share their musical abilities with the masses. Liberty students will soon have that same opportunity to perform and watch fellow students sing at Center4ME’s first Liberty Idol on Fri., April 30. 

The multi-step audition process for Liberty Idol began March 1. Thirty-six students performed songs of their choice in front of five judges. The contestants were judged on creativity, audience appeal, entertainment value and skill level. The 25 students with the highest scores were then invited to the second round of auditions. The 10 best performers were then chosen to perform at Liberty Idol. 

Princess Patterson, Program Manager for the Black Student Initiative and Campus Relations at Center4ME said that ability was not the only factor that made the 10 best performers stand out.  

“It was their willingness to get stretched and their potential for coming out to do it, not necessarily for the prize, but for the exposure,” Patterson said. 

Sophomore Amanda Haas is one of the top 10 finalists. She said that she auditioned last minute because she saw the auditions as a good opportunity to perform, something she has missed doing since she came to college. 

“I chose to try out because I really missed singing. I used to be in all the musicals in high school (but) I haven’t done anything with music since coming to college,” Haas said. “I decided what song I was going to sing right when I walked in the audition room. I had no idea about the call-backs and especially not about the finale on stage in front of the whole school. I just tried out because I was dying to sing somewhere.”

Center4ME Associate Director John Swann said that giving students an opportunity to showcase their talents is exactly what Center4ME hopes to do with Liberty Idol.  

“I think there are a lot of students who are not on ministry teams and not on stage at convocation, but they have a lot of talent and they need an outlet to get that talent out. This is one of those venues where they can come sing and get a chance to shine in front of all their friends in the process,” Swann said. 

The competition will take place in the Schilling Center at 11 p.m. and is modeled after the original show. The performers have all picked four songs to perform in different genres including Disco, Christian, Country and Motown.  All 10 contestants will perform once and then be evaluated by four judges, including special guest judges Dr. Ergun Caner and David McKinney, Jr. 

However, the judges will not determine who makes it to the next round.  That decision will be in the hands of the audience who will have the opportunity to text in their vote for who they think should continue on.  After the first round, five contestants will be eliminated and then they will be voted off one by one.  The final performer will win a $100 gift card to Wal-Mart and the title of the first Liberty Idol.

Patterson hopes that students who attend Liberty Idol will come away knowing more about what Center4ME does and a better understanding of campus diversity.

“I hope that people come out and see the Center4ME because not a lot of people know what the Center4ME is and just showing diversity because it’s a diverse mix of people who are in the actual show,” Patterson said. 

Swann agrees, saying that the event will hopefully be one more step toward campus unity.

“It’s going to be a dynamic event. It’s going toward the Chancellor’s goal of celebrating and working together toward unity on campus. I think that this event will be one of those events that encompass all races and nationalities. It’s a diverse event and I think that it will be good for the campus,” Swann said. 

With final exams and the semester quickly coming to an end, Liberty Idol will provide one last big night of fun and relaxation.  

“You have to have events like this at college where you can just let go and have some fun. With all the work we do, it’s nice to have something that is crazy and exciting where people can have a good time,” Haas said. 

Tickets for Liberty Idol cost $3 in advance and $4 at the door and are on sale now at the Vines Center Box Office and at the Center4ME in Dorm 20.  


Contact Betsy Abraham at


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