BEMUS POINT - Judges wanted to advance six of Monday night's nine singers to the next round of Chautauqua Lake Idol, but knew doing so would only make an already difficult decision even harder.
''I can't imagine this is going to get any easier,'' said Mike Quimby, one of Chautauqua Lake Idol's four judges. ''It's going to be really hard when it gets down to the end.''
Limited to five, judges selected Katie Elfman, Burke Lindquist, Jay Monaco, Kristen Vanstrom and Carol Westerdahl to continue on to the next round of the regional vocal competition - an oldies night scheduled for Monday, July 21.
From left, Burke Lindquist, Carol Westerdahl, Katie Elfman, Jay Monaco and Kristen Vanstrom were selected to advance to the second round of Chautauqua Lake Idol on Monday evening.
P-J photos by Nicholas L. Dean
Covering a range of styles Monday, the five singers tackled everything from Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys to Nickelback.
''I don't know what was more nerve-wracking, waiting for the judges or waiting to sing,'' said Elfman, who was the sixth singer to perform on the Floating Stage in Bemus Point during last night's Chautauqua Lake Idol event. ''It was really fun, but I feel so much better now that it's over and done with for tonight. Now it's time to prepare for next week. I'm just really glad to have made it to the second week so I can at least sing a second song.''
Similarly excited to continue on, Lindquist characterized his experience Monday as ''awesome'' and said it felt great to perform in front of a packed Bemus Point crowd.
For the second week in a row, Chautauqua Lake Idol drew a crowd which packed the Bemus Point shoreline - from the tables at the Italian Fisherman along the street in front of the former Surf Club and on toward the Hotel Lenhart. Idol enthusiasts clapped and cheered along, with some diehard supporters holding signs naming their favorite singers.
For oldies night, the singers chosen Monday will be joined by Julie Haight, Billy Thomas, Karen Buck, Brian Chase and Kenny Fabritius - who were selected after last week's competition. Organized each year by WWSE 93.3 FM, Chautauqua Lake Idol starts out with 20 contestants - who are then narrowed down to 10 over the course of two preliminary rounds. However only nine singers performed Monday as Margie Nelsen was unable to compete in the contest. According to Chautauqua Lake Idol Producer Andrew Hill, Nelsen's withdrawal came too close to Monday's show to replace the singer.
Now in its fifth year, the 2008 Chautauqua Lake Idol Regional Vocal Competition will consist of six shows total. With both preliminary rounds now complete, there are only three theme nights and a finals night left.
According to Hill, this year SE93 is looking for someone with a little bit of everything this year.
''From slow, meaningful ballads to the entertaining performance that forces the audience on their feet, we are looking for a singer that the general audience can connect with,'' Hill said recently. ''I think our past winners have shared the ability to entertain and make the audience 'want more.' Sue (Waite), Marla (Harris), Lauren (Cecchini) and Ben (Blood) have been true professionals and certainly won over the crowd and judges.''
Chautauqua Lake Idol is organized each year by WWSE 93.3 FM - a Media One Group radio station. For more information, visit www.chautauqualakeidol.com or the Media One Group studios. Questions can also be directed to WWSE 93.3 FM by calling 487-1151.