MILLEDGEVILLE — For six years, Milledgeville Idol, presented by Georgia College's Department of Continuing Education, has showcased some of the best voices Baldwin County has to offer. On Saturday, Aug. 24, the final part of this year's competition took place, featuring nine finalists who filled Russell Auditorium with the soulful sounds of Motown.
“This year we decided to have two shows this year instead of one, which made for harder competition,” said Stephanie Westmoreland, program coordinator for the Continuing Education department of Georgia College. Finalists Anna Brock, Adam Postell, Sydney Causey, Shaunta Simmons, Daylon Moss, Jessie Paige, Olivia Langford, Carlithia Jackson and Tim Robinson battled it out for the 2013 Milledgeville Idol title. Saturday's performance was the final deciding factor in which contestant Carlithia Jackson was chosen as this year's Idol winner. Along with the title, Jackson also won a cash award of $1,000.
“I was speechless, and I usually have a lot to say,” said Jackson as she described her initial reaction when she was announced as the winner. “I was just really surprised because I was up against some really talented singers.”
Jackson performed “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips during Friday's performance. On Saturday she won the judges over with her rendition of Marvin Gaye's “Heard It through the Grapevine.”
“I was nervous at first, but once I get on stage and get into it, I'm usually fine,” she said.
Carlithia, 27, has been singing all her life, but she does it as a hobby.
“It's just natural talent and it makes me feel good to sing. I may consider doing it professionally one day,” she said.
Jackson had competed in the competition previously but did not place. One of her co-workers urged her to try again this year.
“She said you never know what will happen so I decided to give it another go,” said Jackson.
With the thrill of participating in Milledgeville Idol running through her veins, Jackson will also attempt to compete in the televised American Idol.
Each year, the Milledgeville Idol planning committee try to tailor the competition to resemble the well-known American Idol television competition.
“We try to make it as close to American Idol as we possibly can, creating a fun feel good kind of competition that's interactive,” Westmoreland said.
The program has become such a successful event that the committee is already making plans for next year's competition.
“As soon as the winner was announced, we were already bouncing ideas off of each other for next year's competition. Each year seems to be just as successful as the previous year and we want to keep that momentum going,” she said.
Online auditions are already being accepted for the 2014 competition. They can be submitted by going to the Georgia College Continuing Education website.
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