Kirtland Idol welcomes first three finalists

  • Published
  • By Sheila Rupp
  • Nucleus Journalist
Team Kirtland is one step closer to crowning this year's Kirtland Idol. Nine singers rocked the house - some more than others - March 30 at the first of three Kirtland Idol preliminaries. 

Nine singers got up the guts to sing in front of Team Kirtland at the Mountain View Club American Idol-style. The group was diverse in music choice, performance style and ability, but one observer exclaimed that too many had chosen Idol-esque songs. Regardless of song selections, the performers were surprisingly good, though many were nervous. 

Capt. Morgan O'Brien of the Albuquerque Military Entrance Processing Command and Shayna-Nicole Walker of 377th Services Squadron kept things moving with witty banter serving as masters of ceremonies. 

Performing third, Heidi Webb, a services employee, brought the crowd to a frenzy of applause with her rendition of Alannah Myles' "Black Velvet." She showcased her sultry, raspy voice in the 1989 hit, which she complimented by wearing a black dress and shook her hair out like the stuff music videos are made of. 

Airman 1st Class Brandi Lewis of the 377th Mission Support Squadron from Memphis, Tenn., sang a beautiful a cappella version of Whitney Houston's "I Believe in You and Me." Without instrumental accompaniment Airman Lewis' soulful voice stood out, though many in the crowd couldn't distinguish the song without the more familiar music. She brought with her a legion of fans to cheer her on and vote her into the finals. 

Ms. Houston seemed to be the songstress of choice for performers to emulate as Senior Airman Janelle Jansen of security forces sang seventh, performing another of Ms. Houston's hits, "I Have Nothing." She got the sympathy vote coming up on stage with crutches and after having been thrown up on by an infant, but she didn't need the sympathy vote - her voice held its own. 

She seemed very comfortable in the spotlight. After Airman Jansen finished her song, Captain O'Brien said, "Her leg may be hurt but her pipes clearly aren't." 

As with any talent competition, there were great performances, there were not-so-great performances and there were living room karaoke contenders. 

Those in the crowd, 18 years old and older, voted by way of secret ballot to vote the top three contenders into the final round which will take place April 27 at 7 p.m. at the Mountain View Club. Airman Lewis finished in third place, winning $25; Ms. Webb finished in second place overall, winning $50 for her performance; and Airman Jansen won the crowd over with her performance taking home first place and $75. 

Airman Jansen said she was shocked to have won because she hadn't decided to sing beforehand and hadn't prepared. "I just came out to have a good time on a Friday night. I can't believe I won," she said. 

The finals will showcase nine singers, three from each preliminary. Two preliminaries remain: April 13 and April 20, both at 7 p.m. at the Mountain View Club. Larry Eccles of services said that the goal for this year's Kirtland Idol is to improve and add on to last year's competition. The top three finalists will also perform at the Summer Bash, which will be held July 20. 

Admission to performances is free. There is a limit of 15 contestants per night. 

Registered contestants should arrive at 6:15 p.m. and last call to sign up is at 6:45 p.m. Those interested in signing up to perform in the remaining preliminaries should call Mr. Eccles at 846-0113 or e-mail him at