With $1,000 you can buy some new clothes, pay off some tuition or buy a record player. Kelsey McCluskey, freshman, plans on doing a little bit of all three after accepting the $1,000 check for winning The Voice of Western on Nov. 8.
“I did not join the competition for the money. I can say that. I saw the competition advertised, and I said that looks really fun and sounds like something I’ve always wanted to do. I went back and forth with my roommate and she said do it, so I decided to just go try something new,” McClusky said.
The Western Activities Council once again held the final round of “The Voice of Western” competition on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Kemper Recital Hall (Spratt 101) at Western.
The Voice of Western held auditions earlier on Oct. 25 where judges were allowed to pick which singers they wanted. There were two rounds after auditions and then the final round where the winner was announced. The competition is usually a two-week long competition, giving students a week to find a song and rehearse.
Jawon Jones, judge, explains the audition process and what they were looking for in the contestants.
“During the audition phase we had to make sure the contestants had stage presence, the voice, tonality and potential,” Jones said. “We wanted to see who we could help grow throughout the competition and who we can take to the finals.”
The three finalist got to sing a duet with their judge/coach. Last they got to perform their solo performances. McClusky performed “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood. She explains how she chose that song.
“Nah’ryan Crawford-Reed helped coach me. I really love country, so we eventually came up with this song, and I was like this is the one because I know this, this is me, and I have a connection to this song,” McClusky said.
The judges go backstage and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each contestant. Marissa Steimel, judge, explains what the winner needed to have in her eyes.
“I wanted someone who pushed themselves and someone who was a good performer. That’s all they needed for me,” Steimel said.
Although those were the only things Marissa was looking for, Jones happened to be looking for a couple of other things as well.
“It was a gradual growth over time. We looked for who really challenged themselves over the course of this competition, who showed improvement and who really had great crowd interaction and reactions,” Jones said.
In order to win it all, McClusky had to get out of her comfort zone.
“With this last song, I really stepped out of my comfort zone, and it paid off. The competition helped me with being more comfortable with songs that I am afraid to sing, and this also reaffirmed how much I really like performing for people up on the stage,” McClusky said.
McClusky had a great time throughout her competition and plans on participating in more in the near future.