Teen pipes up to claim this year’s Wellesley Idol title

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

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Stl 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 Observer]

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.”