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ISSUE 117 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 5/7/2004

Idol times

By Diana Frantz
Copy Editor

Friday, May 7, 2004

For the second year in a row, Ole Idol will give students with superstar aspirations the chance to showcase their flair for performance. Hymns and classical music must make way for a pop invasion. The top ten Ole Idol contestants, who have already made it through Tuesday's preliminary round and Thursday's semifinals, will compete in the finals on Thursday, May 13. The prize for next Thursday's winner is certainly substantial. Unlike American Idol Clay Aiken, the 2004 winner Ole Idol will probably not be automatically considered physically attractive despite obvious flaws of face and figure. At Olaf, it's about the music -- not getting a date. This year's winning diva will receive the chance to make a studio recording. Amy Liesmaki `03, last year's winning Idol, received a record deal as a result of her victory. Liesmaki will return to perform at the Finals.

The creation of Ole Idol was a natural step for Abiola Lepe `05. She watched American Idol during its first season and decided that the television program could easily be adapted into a competition on the music-centric St. Olaf campus. According to Lepe, Ole Idol fills a hole in the music department; it allows St. Olaf's singing stars to break out of their modest choir robes and own the stage. "The music department is ensemble driven. Ole Idol provides a chance for solo pop performance, something outside of the everyday," Lepe, a member of the St. Olaf Choir, said. The winner of Ole Idol does not necessarily need to have the best voice on campus.

Instead, they must have show-stopping stage presence. There is no shortage of Idol wannabees among the student body. Last year's promotional video, which was replayed outside Stav Hall this week, is still so funny that groups of students gathered to watch the gyrations of Kori Zinsmeister `04 in her J. Lo shorts. On Tuesday, the 40 students who signed up for Idol were cut down to 10 finalists by judges Bill Green Jr. `05, Herbie Washington `04, Maren Bush `04, Nathan Soland `04 and Lacresha Payne `07. The overall winner will be decided by audience votes the night of the final round. Who will this year's Ole Idol be? The competition will be stiff with so many talented singers on campus, but there can be only one Ole Idol. Contestants, whip out your feather boas, or -- if you dare -- pull a Britney, and whip out a boa constrictor.

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