WELLESLEY IDOL WIN­NER NAMED AT ABC FES­TI­VAL

Six­teen-year-old Rachel Regier is this year’s win­ner at fi­nal held dur­ing the ABC Fes­ti­val

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - VERON­ICA REINER

RACHEL REGIER IS THE Wellesley Idol win­ner for 2018, her strong voice and vo­cal range com­ing out on top at the fi­nal com­pe­ti­tion held Sat­ur­day dur­ing the Ap­ple But­ter and Cheese Fes­ti­val.

“I just turned 16 yes­ter­day, so I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter birth­day gift,” said Regier, af­ter the com­pe­ti­tion.

Regier wowed the au­di­ence with her cover of “Good Feel­ing” by Flo Rida, as well as a mash-up of Lady Gaga and Madonna songs, in­clud­ing “Born This Way,” and “Ex­press Your­self.” Regier was given $500 for the first-place fin­ish.

In se­cond place was Jus­tine Sharma with her cover of “Say Some­thing” by A Great Big World, fol­lowed by “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Jour­ney. Sharma claimed the $300 prize.

Third place went to Mitchell Roe­mer, who per­formed “Think­ing Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and “This Is Me” by the Great­est Show­man, pick­ing up $200 for his ef­forts.

Each of the per­form­ers also show­cased their mu­si­cal tal­ents on in­stru­ments that in­cluded gui­tar and pi­ano.

Mu­si­cal artist Al­lis­ter Bradley spoke on be­half of the five judges when pre­sent­ing their fi­nal de­ci­sion. Tim Louis, JP Sunga, John Bai­ley, and Amy Rola also made up this year’s judg­ing panel.

The judges also acted as a men­tor for the con­tests, coach­ing them in­di­vid­u­ally with op­tional one-on-one ses­sions to pre­pare singers as much as pos­si­ble. For­mer Wellesley Idol judge By­ron Shantz acted as the MC for the com­pe­ti­tion, pre­sent­ing each singer and their bio to the au­di­ence.

“To­day was an awe­some day of en­ter­tain­ment,” Bradley be­gan while ad­dress­ing the crowd. “I know all of these singers have wild, won­der­ful stuff in their fu­ture. This was a very, very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion be­cause we loved so much about what we saw on stage to­day.

“We saw a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing – we saw some hid­den tal­ents emerge, we saw some fan­tas­tic song choices, we saw the nerves, so way to go all of you for get­ting up here and per­form­ing and en­ter­tain­ing this crowd. That said, this is the part of the com­pe­ti­tion where we have to name names and num­ber num­bers, but the best part is we get to give out money,” he said.

“It was a tough de­ci­sion. It felt like we were look­ing at the 99th per­centile and the 98th per­centile and the 97th per­centile. There were no ter­ri­ble per­for­mances

to­day; this was a whole lot of great en­ter­tain­ment.”

Jorja Smith won the fan favourite ti­tle and the $125 prize, a se­lec­tion made af­ter the semi-fi­nal round ear­lier in Septem­ber. She sang “Mil­lion Rea­sons” by Lady Gaga and “Per­fect” by Pink while the judges were de­lib­er­at­ing their de­ci­sion on the fi­nal three con­tes­tants.

Last year’s Wellesley Idol win­ner, Anas­ta­sia Bilodeau, also made an ap­pear­ance, per­form­ing “Don’t Know Why” by Nora Jones and an orig­i­nal song of her own. She said her time as a Wellesley Idol win­ner truly shaped her tal­ent as a mu­si­cian.

“I did have to sing at the Christ­mas pa­rade – it was re­ally cold,” said Bilodeau with a laugh. “It helped make me the artist I am now.

“When I was in Wellesley Idol, I had a hard time pick­ing a song with my voice tone,” said Bilodeau. “They re­ally help you work with stage pres­ence. Be­cause once you make it to the top three, they al­ready know you can sing. So it’s more how you en­gage with the au­di­ence, and if you’re hav­ing fun on­stage, and pro­ject­ing a song that ap­peals to every­one, not just singing a nice tune. There’s a lot more to it.”

[VERON­ICA REINER / THE OB­SERVER]

St. Cle­ments’ Rachel Regier is all smiles af­ter be­ing named as the 2018 Wellesley Idol win­ner – the $500 cheque helps, too. She edged out the two other fi­nal­ists dur­ing a per­for­mance Sat­ur­day at the Wellesley Ap­ple But­ter and Cheese Fes­ti­val.

[VERON­ICA REINER]

The com­pe­ti­tion’s other two fi­nal­ists were Con­estogo’s Mitchell Roe­mer and Wellesley’s Jus­tine Sharma. At the end, the judges say the per­for­mances made it tough to pick a win­ner.

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