MOUNT VERNON — From country to big band, Knox Idol contestants competing in the semifinals brought the heat.
Six contestants, three in the youth division (ages 14-18) and three in the young adult division (ages 19-29), competed for the four spots that will go on to the finals tonight at 9 p.m. on the First-Knox Main Stage.
Participating in the youth division were Brayden Freeman, Jillian Short and Lacey Blubaugh.
Short, a junior at Mount Vernon High School sang “House of the Rising Sun.” Song choice, Short said, is key in a performance, as is knowing the meaning behind the song.
“Think more about what the song means so that you know how to perform it better,” Short advised for future Knox Idol contestants. “And don’t really focus on doing well — just have fun.”
Like Short, Blubaugh also returned to the competition for her second year and performed “Roses and Violets.” She explained that she likes to compete to get feedback from the judges to help her grow as a performer.
“[Music] has always just been kind of an escape, like if things are hard or even if things are going really good, I can express it through music better than anything else,” Blubaugh said.
Freeman, known to some as “Big Country,” sang and performed an original song called “If a Good Time Was a Crime,” in his third year participating in Knox Idol. Freeman draws his inspiration from Johnny Cash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC and Garth Brooks just to name a few.
Short and Freeman will move on to the finals.
Participating in the young adult division were Michelle Guajardo, Fredi Bockover and Rachael Aust.
Guajardo, 27, explained that she got involved with the competition in 2017 as a way to get herself “out there” in a new and challenging way to try something new. She performed “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman.”
Aust performed “Autumn Leaves” and explained that she loves Nat King Cole. Initially, she chose a pop song for auditions but changed her song for the semifinals at the judges’ suggestion.
Fredi Bockover, a 19-year-old sophomore at the Columbus College of Art and Design and a first-time competitor at Knox Idol, performed “Stupid Cupid.”
Bockover and Aust will move on to the finals competition. In the young adult division the winner will go home with $1,000 and second place will walk away with $100.
Finals are tonight on the Main Stage at 9 p.m.