Estevan Idol crowned its two most recent winners when the competition wrapped up last Wednesday.
Sabrina Demyen won the senior division after performing her own original song with a six-string guitar, while Samantha Pauchard sat behind a keyboard for her final performance, covering Leonard Cohen’s popular Hallelujah. They received $500 as well as a number of items and gift certificates courtesy of local businesses.
Idol ran at the Civic Auditorium June 18 to 20, with eight contestants in the senior category (16-and-up) and nine in the junior. Four seniors and five juniors advanced to perform in the finals.
After the competition, and subsequent photo sessions, Demyen was still all smiles after stowing her over-sized cheque to the side in the Civic.
“It’s really exciting,” said Demyen. “I’ve never won before and to come out and do something I haven’t done in a long time and win, it’s really exciting.”
Demyen is originally from Prince Albert and started singing in a girls’ choir when she eight years old. She first played guitar at age 13, and she used the six string to play her final self-written song.
“They told me to pick it up a bit. My first selection (on Wednesday) was faster because it’s what they wanted. And I thought I’d bring an original song to show off my writing skills.
She wrote the song two years ago when she first started dating her boyfriend. She said she believes she’s performed it once before.
“I used to do a lot of competition when I was younger, and I never actually won. I always came in top three or top five, so I’ve never won. So it’s kind of an accomplishment for me.”
The last time she competed was about two years ago, and she remembers competing against last year’s junior Idol winner, Lexi Tytslandsvik.
“I’ve always loved to sing, and I haven’t sung in a long time. I thought doing something more local would be fun.”
Samantha decided to bring her voice to Estevan Idol because she loves to sing, and she had some fears to conquer. With the first-place finish, she was very pleased with her decision to compete.
“It feels great to be a winner. Coming into the competition, I wasn’t really quite sure if I’d even make it past the first round. I’m really glad I did; it’s just a great experience. There’s so many good contestants that showed up. I’m happy to be just with them.”
Her song choices were being changed last minute, but that didn’t seem to affect her ability for any of the songs she performed.
“I switched (songs) a couple of times. I wasn’t supposed to play the piano at all but I made a last minute decision to switch it up a little bit.”
Samantha accompanied herself on piano for two of the three songs she performed throughout the competition.
“I find it much more comfortable having it with me. If I mess up or anything, I can always kind of get back into the song.”
She started singing around age four or five, but noted she has always had trouble performing before an audience.
“I really love singing, and I have a terrible stage fright fear. I just wanted to get over it. This has definitely helped a lot.”
For Samantha, a 13-year-old from Oxbow, this was her first Estevan Idol competition, and she shed some nerves after each performance, looking quite at home when she played her third and final song.
“There’s still a little bit of nerves,” she said. “I’ve always kept very quiet. I’ve never liked going out and performing, but it’s a lot of fun now, and I love performing.”
The judges were Brad Bengert, Launa Coyne and Ryan MacKenzie, while Tytslandsvik stood in as a fourth judge for the junior competition.
Karissa Hoffart placed second, while Molly Foggarty rounded out the top three in the senior competition. Emily Thompson was the second-place junior, and Brooklyn Willerth placed third in the junior competition. Also competing on the final night were Blair Wrubleski in the senior division and Faith Kyle and Keysha Grulich for the juniors.