Onyx Soundlab Donates Record Package To "Idol" Winner

February 18, 2000 –

(Manchester, CT)  The Student Union Theater was full of talented performances at last night's UConn Idol competition, but it was Chris Freeman who blew away the audience and judges with his acoustic rendition of "Hey Ya" by Outkast and ended the show with an incredible performance of Matt Nathanson's "Come on Get Higher."

"Amazing, I can't even describe how incredible he was," said Sara Branciforte, a 2nd-semester pre-teaching major.

The judges of the night were very impressed with Freeman's performance. They went as far as saying that they have been to a plethora of shows like UConn Idol, and Freeman was one of the best performers they have ever seen.

"It was a lot of fun doing this, everyone was really great tonight," said the 2nd-semester agricultural and natural resources major. "It was really exciting to win, but I wasn't expecting it at all."

Although Freeman may have been the winner of the show, he certainly did not overshadow the other contestants. The additional five performers all displayed their talent throughout the night.

Destiny Printz impressed the crowd with her performance of "Diary" by Alicia Keys, and Joey Homza not only sang a notable version of "Umbrella" by Rihanna, but he also entertained the crowd and judges with his humorous remarks, and spontaneous outbursts of "Womanizer" and "Disturbia."

Laura Funk brought a little country to the competition, with her rendition of Leann Rhymes' "One Way Ticket." And Joe Tarantino tried to out-do Michael Jackson with his performance of "I want you back."

"The show seemed to have a much more solid group this year than they had last year," said Tara Raymaakers, a 6th-semester pharmacy major. "This year's performers were all really good; there wasn't a single one that stood out as a bad singer."

The show was modeled after the popular television show, "American Idol." Each contestant performed one song and three judges shared their opinions after each performance. The judges for this year's competition were from the Onyx Soundlab and had worked with artists such as the Pussycat Dolls and Lil Wayne.

At the end of the first round, the audience was able to fill out a ballot and vote for their favorite performer. The judges discussed and cut the list of top performers to three who would moved on to the next round.

The audience's pick went to Mandy Cook, with her performance of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary." She received a $50 gift certificate to the Co-op. The judges' choice, Freeman, received the grand prize for the night, which was a free recording session at the Onyx Soundlab.

The performers were not the only ones who received prizes during the night. Periodically, the audience was challenged to "American Idol" trivia. Each winner received a $20 gift certificate to the co-op.

Not only did audience members have a chance to win prizes during the show, but before even entering the theater, students were given the opportunity to answer trivia about event sponsor SUBOG and win prizes ranging from a free T-Shirt to a mini-basketball hoop.

"The show was definitely a success, said Alana Wenick, a 6th-semester English major and SUBOG travel chair. "There was a great turnout and everyone seemed really excited about it, so it was a great night."

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