The Wellesley arena was alive with the sound of music rather than slap shots and hockey skates on Tuesday night as eight young singers brought down the house for the semi-final round of Wellesley Idol at the 163rd Wellesley-North Easthope Fall Fair.
The judges, Saibal Chakraburtty, Tim Louis, and JP Sunga, were tasked with choosing which three would make it to the final round at the Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese Festival on Sept. 24.
Chakraburtty and Sunga have both judged the Wellesley Idol competition for the past few years. This was Louis’ first year on the judging panel. And there’s no doubt about it, it was a tough call.
“This was a very difficult decision and I do want to say all eight contestants absolutely belonged on stage here tonight,” Louis said.
The eight singers made it into the semi-final round by performing one acapella and one accompanied song for the judges back in May.
“All of the contestants should be really proud of yourselves. To get up on stage here and do what you did tonight was just simply amazing. Thank you once again for sharing your talents here. You have so much to be proud of. The reality is that we do have to bring three people forward to the ABC Festival in a couple weeks,” Sunga said.
After much deliberation, Nikki Metzger, Rachel Regier and Nathan Tarasko were chosen. Metzger performed Meghan Trainor’s Lips Are Moving, Regier performed KT Tunstall’s Black Horse and the Cherry Tree and Tarasko performed John Newman’s Down the Line.
All three had great stage presence, as Metzger and Regier both made good use of the stage and Tarasko hammered out his song on piano.
The judges offered words of wisdom to the group, encouraging them to continue singing.
“For the first time, this year as judges we worked with all eight semifinalists and we had 45 minute sessions that we worked with them, one on one. We worked on some stage techniques and some singing, some finer points and some broad strokes. And from the beginning of those rehearsals to the end of the rehearsals to tonight’s performance every single one of the competitors just rose to the challenge. I just watched them step up and up and up and I feel like a dad, I’m just so proud of them,” Louis said.
Singer-songwriter Michael Gabriel emceed the event and performed one of his songs during the break while the judges deliberated. He recently produced a music video in Ohio and spent his summer in Wellesley visiting friends. He couldn’t help but be impressed by the talent on stage.
“At that age I feel like I was singing Ring Around the Rosie really badly. I didn’t know what I was getting into tonight. I’m just blown away by the level, and again what’s sticking out for me is the pitch and the confidence in just coming up here and nailing it,” Gabriel said after the singers had all finished.
The audience also voted on a fan favourite who will perform in the finals. Prizes for the top three are $500, $300, and $200, respectively. The fan favourite will receive $125.
The Wellesley Idol finalists will compete on Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. on the main stage at the Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese Festival.