The judges of SE93's Chautauqua Lake Idol faced the most difficult decision yet of choosing the top four for Finals Night.
Monday's lineup of six performers included: Ben Swanson, Marquida Hughes, Heather Pawlak, Krystal Sipp, Adam McKillip and Alyson Borowczyk. The group was tasked with covering 80's punk rock classics and songs by Queen.
According to Chautauqua Lake Idol judge Tim Edborg, it wasn't difficult for the contestants to sing two songs, it was difficult to go from the "the awesome genre of punk rock to the extremely melodic pop-clean-clear-vocal lyrical content that Queen's Freddie Mercury brings."
Adam McKillip performing Queen's 'We Are The Champions' at Chautauqua Lake Idol.
P-J photos by Dusten Rader
"I thought I was going to hate punk night," said Edborg. "But, it turned out being one of my favorite genres since we began this year."
Last week, the judges made many comments throughout the competition regarding singers personalizing the songs they perform. This week, contestants stepped up to the plate by showing confidence in their voice, according to Edborg.
"I think this is one of the best years we've had," said Edborg. "They really stepped it up tonight, it was probably one of the best nights I've seen in a long time. But, even still I was using stars to mark down when someone was great, if they didn't get a star that meant I didn't think they did so great, and it was rare to have two stars. So, if you had two you went on."
Stand out performances included Hughes' versions of "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash and Queen's "Tie Your Mother Down." Borowczyk also impressed judges who said it was her best night so far. She performed Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You " and Queen's "I Want To Break Free."
"Alyson knocked it out of the park with the two songs she did, and Marquida did the same thing, both of them really brought it," said Edborg.
Pawlak, who in previous weeks has drawn standing ovations from the crowd, also impressed Edborg with her performances of The Clash's "Train In Vain" and Queen's "Who Wants To Live Forever."
"When Heather sings it's amazing, but she doesn't believe in herself," said Edborg. "Her first song she did great, then her Queen song had this really long cosmic beginning and both she and the band lost their place. But, when they got it together she really redeemed herself."
The two who were eliminated were Swanson and Sipp. According to Edborg, Sipp, who performed Blondie's "One Way Or Another" and Queen's "Don't Stop Me" was eliminated due to not being consistent.
"We were disappointed because she really has a great voice, but she started to be inconsistent," he said. "I'm even more disappointed that she got voted off and wasn't saved by text messages."
Swanson, who performed Joan Jett's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" and Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" made a strong effort, but didn't make the cut.
"Ben changed the melody in a song and I thought he was going to crack, but he didn't so I gave him props for that," said Edborg.
McKillip, who was voted fan favorite to be saved for the third straight time, sang Queen's "We Are The Champions" and The Clash's "I Fought The Law."
"The good news is that he had his best night tonight," said Edborg.
Finals Night, which is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m., will include two performances by each finalist. Each contestant will sing a song of their choice and will also perform a song chosen by the judges. According to Edborg, being able to perform in the finals is an opportunity for the performers to showcase their best because in a way, the final four have already won.
"Fans get to look forward to a night where we pick a song that we think they will do it justice and they get to pick any song they know they can really bring home," said Edborg. "It's going to be one of the best Chautauqua Lake Idol finals ever."
For more information visit chautauqualakeidol.com.