Mary Maready sings as one of the top 12 of the Kowaliga Idol 5 competition,  which wrapped up Friday with a packed house at the Lake Martin Event Center at The Rodeo Club. Allen Yates, master of ceremonies, said they saw record crowds this year. | Alison James
Mary Maready sings as one of the top 12 of the Kowaliga Idol 5 competition, which wrapped up Friday with a packed house at the Lake Martin Event Center at The Rodeo Club. Allen Yates, master of ceremonies, said they saw record crowds this year. | Alison James

Archived Story

Belting out the hits

Published 11:45am Tuesday, March 12, 2013

56 participate in Kowaliga Idol 5

Kowaliga Idol 5 ended on a high note – and a low note and every note in between – with its final competition night Friday.

Cheri Edwards of Alexander City was named this year’s Kowaliga Idol winner.

“I was surprised,” Edwards said. “I didn’t expect it at all.”

The competition, held at the Lake Martin Event Center at the Rodeo Club, started off with 56 contestants who were whittled down over the course of four weeks, said master of ceremonies Allen Yates.

“It started as a karaoke competition four years ago,” Yates said. “Now it has gotten bigger and stronger, and it seems like we are getting more talented and more qualified people. The top 12 that did the finals – every one of them had the potential when they took the stage to come out as a winner.”

Hopeful stars came from all over to take part in Kowaliga Idol – like Callie Knight, runner up who took the stage from Wadley.

“It was so amazing,” Knight said. “I met so many people, and they were so talented.”

Knight said singing Beyonce’s Sweet Dreams for her judge’s pick song on finals night really took her out of her comfort zone, but “it taught me to be really versatile,” Knight said.

Then it was the moment of truth. Knight said she got more and more excited as names were called out until it was down to her and Edwards.

“We were holding hands and we were like, ‘Oh my, we’re the top two,’” Knight said. “It’s such an honor … I know I was grinning ear to ear on stage.”

Edwards, who said she has been singing her whole life, said she just went into the competition to have fun but was excited to win.

“I think song selection had the most to do with it and just working the crowd and everything,” Edwards said. “I’ve been doing it a long time, and I like to think I know what people want to hear.”

Yates said they saw record crowds each night of the competition of 700–900 a night – bring in a lot of revenue for Tallapoosa County.

“It seems like it grows more and more each year,” Yates said.

Yates said another positive sign was the amount of new talent in Kowaliga Idol 5.

“This year we only had nine people who had sung in it in years past,” Yates said.

Edwards and Knight were both first-time competitors in Kowaliga Idol.

“I learned how to get comfortable on stage more,” Knight said. “Performing is my whole life. I want to go far with it … I will definitely do Kowaliga Idol again next year. I’m going to do any competition that will put me out there.”

As the Kowaliga Idol winner, part of Edwards’ prize is recording time in a studio in Nashville.

Although she said she isn’t sure she is ready to pursue music as a career full time, she might participate in Kowaliga Idol again in the future, and music will always be part of her life.

“There’s just something about music I fell in love with,” Edwards said.

Other top five winners include Bradley Roberson, third place; Ke-Ke Fuller, fourth place; and Jon Hornsby, fifth place.

 

 

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