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Hollywood hopefuls sing at Crossroads Idol

By KBell
Aug. 8, 2010 at 3:08 a.m.

Crossroads Idol contestant Shardae Jones from Yoakum sings during round two of the competition held at Victoria Mall.  mall traffic was busy as hundreds of people crowed the stage to get a glimpse of the next possible American Idol contestant.

FinalistsEnoe Garcia, 27, Victoria

Candace Lerma, 25, of Victoria

Whitney Taylor, 17, of Corpus Christi

Cary Givens, 21, of Victoria

Shardae Jones, 16, of Yoakum

Semi-FinalistsMatthew Kvinta, 20, Yoakum

Rachel Maldonado, 17, of Mathis

Candace Lantiegne, 17, of Victoria

Chris Guerra, 28, of Victoria

Chelsea Rivera, 19, of Victoria

When Enoe Garcia belted out a long, high note in the Gospel song, "His Eye is on the Sparrow," the crowd gathered at the Crossroads Idol contest burst into applause.

Garcia, 27, was the first contestant to take the stage at the Victoria Mall, and he would be the last one standing.

Garcia beat out 33 people, ages 15 to 28, in the two-day competition, which was hosted by Fox 19 in conjunction with TDECU and its Young and Free Texas program.

The 10 Idol hopefuls who made it past the first round of competition Saturday were invited to the semi-finals Sunday.

Sitting in the contestants' VIP lounge just minutes before show time, Garcia said he wasn't nervous at all.

"I've sang in front of a lot of people before. A lot of church things," Garcia said.

On the other side of the room, friends and semi-finalists Whitney Taylor and Rachel Maldonado, both 17, admitted to feeling the pressure.

"I'm definitely nervous, but I'm really excited and happy. I can't believe I made it this far," Taylor, of Corpus Christi, said.

Taylor's parents, Jack and Pam Taylor, said they had only heard about the competition in Victoria Friday night but were "packed and out the door in an hour."

"She's always wanted to do this," her mother said. "She was just waiting for the right time and opportunity."

After each semi-finalist sang a two-minute a cappella song, judges cut the field in half, leaving five performers in the final round.

"It's fun to see people at this stage in the game," one of the judges, Brad Fontaine said. "To see their talent, but to also see how much their talent could develop."

Taylor made it to the final round and made a last-minute, risky decision to sing the national anthem.

Even though the young singer didn't win the competition, the crowd stood and applauded her rendition.

"It was worth it," Taylor said after the competition. "It was a good learning experience and I would do it again."

Taylor said she's hoping to go to Austin this week to try out for American Idol producers. However, only a select number of singers will be given the opportunity to perform in Austin.

For winning the Crossroads Idol contest, Garcia is guaranteed an audition with producers. As part of his prize package, he'll be staying in Austin Tuesday through Thursday.

Judges scored contestants in four categories - stage presence, personality, appearance and style, and most heavily, voice and pitch.

"I was looking for the person who has the best chance to represent us," Fontaine said, adding that he thought Garcia fit that criteria.

Garcia seemed to embrace that responsibility, too.

"I just want to do my best and represent the area the best I can," he said.

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