In its 15th year of successfully showcasing phenomenal student talent, NOVA Idol 2018 hosted the annual production’s finale of strong vocalists at the Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center at the Annandale Campus.
During the main event on April 20, Amanda Foote won the 2018 NOVA Idol vocalist title. First-year NOVA student Shelby Young took home second place, followed by Collin Wright in third place. This year’s show also included a variety act competition for a chance to win $1,500. First-place winner DT Kuang, a self-taught poi performer said he will donate his winnings to a local charity and use the remainder to assist with academic expenses. Trained in martial arts and Hapmudo, second-place winner Kyle Mallari also demonstrated his skills on stage to a roaring crowd.
More than 250 people auditioned across all six NOVA campuses; semi-finalist judges narrowed down the contestants to 13 finalists who competed for the title, generous cash prizes and recording studio time. In addition to the vocalists receiving cash prizes between $1,000 and $4,000, Sanjay Mishra, head of the Music Recording Technology program at the Loudoun Campus, offered 10 free hours of recording sessions at the campus’s state-of-the-art recording studio to Foote and five hours to Young and Wright.
First-place winner Foote sung Tori Kelly’s “Funny,” and wowed the audience with her vocal abilities. After graduating from NOVA, Foote hopes to become a worship pastor and will continue to compose her own songs. Second-place winner Young, sung “Love Never Dies” in the style of Anna O’Byrne. The 19-year-old NOVA-Woodbridge student aspires to pursue a career in musical theatre. Wright sang “Superstar” in the style of Ruben Studdard to take home the third-place NOVA Idol title. His passion for singing afforded him the opportunity to sing for former US President Barack Obama as a member of the Howard University Gospel Choir.
Local musicians who gained national recognition for their talent and work in the industry judged the competition. Judges included Nick “Dr. Nick” Johnson, a radio announcer and host of WPFW-FM “Southern Soul Rumpin;” Andre Johnson, former member of the Washington, DC, R&B group The Choice Four; Justin Young, a professional poet and rap artist; and Sylver Logan Sharp, a R&B, pop, jazz, gospel and blues recording artist.
Assistant Dean of Communication Studies and Theatre and NOVA Idol Executive Director Brenda Lewis-Holmes said over the last 15 years NOVA Idol has increased in popularity among the College and metropolitan area. The competition began as a talent show in a classroom on the Alexandria Campus and has progressed to auditoriums on multiple NOVA campuses.
This year’s show also included performances by the Manassas Park Cougar Drumline, NOVA Forensics Performers Kouamy Davis Brown and Tilford Clark II and Daryl Hunt with the Groovement All-Stars.