'Dayton Idol' still hot

TV audiences have already voted for the next "American Idol," but the title of "Dayton Idol" is still up for grabs. Three finalists square off at the Dayton Inn bar on Friday for karaoke bragging rights and a chance at $200.

Natalie Blaver, who is organizing the sing-off with her husband, said karaoke contests can bring out the best and worst in people.

"It's been fun," she said. "I just wish people wouldn't get so upset. They can be really competitive. Some contestants don't talk to each other."

The crowds can be rough, too. Blaver cited one instance of a drunk bar patron heckling a disabled contestant who had been in a life-threatening car accident three years ago.

In keeping with the American Idol theme, Blaver assembled a three-judge panel. "I chose judges who didn't know many people," Blaver said. "I didn't want them to be bought."

At other karaoke contests she's attended, Blaver said, it wasn't unusual to see a contestant's girlfriend buy a judge a shot of tequila or vodka.

That won't happen here. In the first rounds, judges were scattered in the crowd, so that singers couldn't curry favor with them.

But Blaver said the singers quickly found out who was judging. "They know how to work the judges," she said.

Friday will be different. The judges will be seated at a table in front of the stage and comment on the performance of each contestant - much in the vein of the hit television show. Unlike "American Idol," however, these judges don't have annoying personalities - or sleep with the contestants.

Finalists Sunni, Angel and Billy will perform two to three songs on Friday. "Sunni does a great Aretha Franklin," Blaver said, who describes her singing style as a mixture of country and pop.

Angel draws from a repertoire of Madonna and country western hits, while Billy is alternately described as "Rock-a-Billy" or "Hill-Billy" - depending on his song selection.

"We have a great crowd," Blaver said. "We have three really great singers in Sunni, Angel and Billy."

"I was teasing them that I'd make them expand their horizons - like on the TV show - by having them perform songs outside their comfort zone," Blaver said.

The contest started with 12 contestants four Fridays ago.

n Contact reporter Dan Moreau at dmoreau@nevadaappeal.com or 887-2430 ext. 351.

The finale

Where: Dayton Inn at 70

Highway 50 E.

When: 10 p.m. Friday

Cost: Free

Call: 246-5666


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