Wilf’s hosts first ever Open Mic Idol

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Photo by Darien Funk

On a typical Monday evening, students will go to Wilf’s to display their talents at Open Mic Night. This Monday, however, Wilf’s hosted the first-ever Open Mic Idol.

Each of the 10 acts had the opportunity to prove their talents and perform a set for a crowd of eager students and industry professionals.

Although the idea of Open Mic Idol had been discussed before, it was never put into fruition unti Laurier student Dylan Kavalsky pitched it to the Open Mic Night team.

Photo by Darien Funk

“He’s the one who pitched it to us actually, so he brought us the idea and we sort of finessed it and talked to the Students’ Union and got them on board,” said host Jack Ford Stevens.

At an average Open Mic Night, students are able to sign up for a time slot to perform, but this night operated slightly differently — participants were required to submit audition tapes before they were selected to perform.

“Once we started receiving submissions, it was going through all the submissions — which was over forty — watching those videos, and just sending the vote to each other,” Stevens said.

“Basically, if the vote wasn’t unanimous, we didn’t let them in. So all the people who we did let into the night were yeses across the board.”

The panel of judges included Matt Sobhy, CEO and producer of X Events, vocal instructor Vanessa De Freitas, country music artist Matt Martin, and Mitchell McCloy, owner of Canadian Daydream.

Throughout the night, the judges were able to give useful critiques and suggestions to the performers, as well as positive feedback based on predetermined categories.

“About half of [the performers] are regulars, and the other half are people who have shown up maybe once or twice throughout the two years that I’ve been hosting it,” Stevens said.

The ten acts that were selected were comprised of both solo and group acts.

“I think I’m mostly looking forward to seeing what these people and these groups can do … I’m really excited to see what they’ve prepared for this and what they’re going to show off,” Stevens said before the show.

Every act was exceptionally talented but by the end of the night, the judges had decided on their finalists.

Photo by Darien Funk

The first finalist announced was Claire Mason, who performed two original songs titled “Sleepless Nights” and “Rewind.”

The next finalist announced was Cameron Bauer, who performed what he called a “Moonlight/Hallelujah” medley.

The last finalists announced were a group consisting of Emily Gilbart, Cass Van Heuvelen, Sam

Johnston and Emma Hutchinson. They performed a mashup of “Paint it Black,” “Black Magic Woman” and “Back to Black.”

Every finalist was invited to perform one more song before the judges made their final decision.

Ultimately, the title of Open Mic Night Idol was awarded to Bauer, who blew the crowd away with a performance of “Fly Me to the Moon,” while singing, playing piano, and even adding in a cappella.

The grand prize included a $100 gift card to Wilf’s, a $100 gift card to Ticketmaster and a portable suitcase record player.

Bauer was also awarded with the opportunity to represent Laurier at Student’s Got Talent in March, priority sign up at Open Mic Night for the rest of the school year and a personal gig affiliated with X Events.

Although this was only the first Open Mic Idol, talks of hosting more in the future have already begun, Stevens said.

“For the performers, I think it’s just a chance for them to showcase how talented they are and get their own music out there, and just bring awareness to how amazing they are … It’s also just another opportunity to perform, and there aren’t very many out there for Laurier other than Open Mic Night, so it’s just fun.”

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