November 7, 2002

Prepare to be Idolized

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Calling all rock stars, divas, and Kelly Clarkson wannabes. You may have missed your chance to compete to be America’s Idol, but now, thanks to the creativity and motivation of three die-hard fans, you still have a chance to become a superstar, at least around this campus. Francis Kim ’03, Kate Soden ’04, and Denise Pasquale ’04, were hanging out in the lounge of their dorm watching Kelly and Justin battle it out for the ultimate title when someone piped up, “Hey wouldn’t it be cool if there was a Cornell Idol?” And so a local star-search was born.

“I’m ready to be a legend,” said Jason Jendrewski ’05, who will try out to be Cornell’s Idol this week. While he has not come to a final decision on what he will perform at his audition, he’s leaning towards a Michael Jackson number.

If you haven’t seen their quirky, eye-popping posters all over Trillium (some are spoofs of ads for the original idol, and others display a scantily clad Britney Spears lounging around with the heading “Be Idolized,”), Cornell Idol is slated for a November 22nd performance date. It will be funded by CU Tonight, a funding board that allots money to alcohol-free events taking place on the weekends on campus.

On that night at 10p.m. to 1a.m. ten Cornell undergraduates will take the stage of the Statler Auditorium to compete for a $300 prize.

“At first I thought it sounded kind of cheesy, but then when I found out what it was all about, I decided it was a really good idea,” said Aimee Rifkin ’03, who will audition with Cher’s classic, “Its in His Kiss.” Rifkin actually tried out for the second series of American Idol last month, but despite receiving a call-back for the second round, was not chosen to be a contestant. She hopes that the Cornell version will give her an opportunity to showcase her talent. “I just think it’s a great way for people to be able to perform,” she said.

Kim, Pasquale, and Soden are anticipating an enthusiastic student response. “I know that with all our efforts we’ll be able to sell out the Statler and be able to give money to charity, and hopefully make this an annual thing,” said Kim.

The top ten finalists are chosen by a group of 30 judges and the three producers during three different sessions of auditions. “We e-mailed every large organization on campus to get a diversified judges panel,” explained Soden. She added that the producers really want the participants to reflect on Cornell’s diversity.

The quest for diversity explains the inventive posters. “We covered up the eyes on Britney and Kelly [Clarkson] on the posters with our logo to show that anyone can be the Cornell Idol,” said Pasquale.

Tarek Sultani ’03, musical director of the signing group Last Call and a member of the Glee Club, was one of ten judges who screening the first round of auditions last Sunday. “I’ve seen a lot of singing auditions, and I was really impressed by the caliber of all those who tried out.”

Pasquale agreed. “The first round went very well. We’re excited about the variety of people who came through and about the talent that exists on this campus.”

No one could say exactly how many students showed up for the auditions, but Sultani stressed that there was “high quality over quantity.”

Aspiring idols are judged according to a set criteria determined by the producers. “The criteria are very broad, but basically measure vocal and performance ability,” said Pasquale.

On November 22nd, the top ten finalists will perform solos and the audience members will then vote to decide who they want to be their idol. According to Soden, “It’s completely about the audience input.”

Admission is three dollars, which go towards the winner’s $300 prize and a charity, yet to be decided upon.

Cornell Idol may not be the number one rated Fox program of the season, but it’s sure to pull in an eager crowd and make one lucky winner a star. Get your ticket to see what some people wait a lifetime for, before it’s too late.

Archived article by Stacey Delikat