Janesville39.5°

Fair star contestants wow the audience

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Catherine W. Idzerda
July 24, 2008
— Talk about a tough crowd.

With three judges staring at them, people wandering through the seating area, babies crying and audience members fighting off the distractions of carnival rides and funnel cakes, it was hard for contestants in the Rock County 4-H Star Contest to hold their own.


But not only did they hold their own, many of them did it with pizzazz and grace.


At the end of the evening, contestants in three age divisions went home with $1,000 checks.


They are:


-- Jasmine Bianes, 13, Janesville, in the 8- to 13-year old division.


-- Alexis Riemer, 15, Janesville, in the 14- to 17-year-old division.


-- Andreamya Hobson, 26, Rockford, Ill., in the adult division.


Contestants were judged on overall performance, vocal ability and stage presence.


“You gotta engage the audience,” said Jim Tropp, Star Contest judge and local musical theater director.


When Riemer belted out “I don’t even know his name,” the audience, especially the teenage boy segment, was engaged.


It wasn’t just her vocals, but her confident presence on stage.


Surprisingly, even the youngest performers seemed to understand what they needed to do—stepping, swaying and gesturing during their numbers.


And Hobson definitely got it.


She came out in a short silver dress that reflected the spotlights, making her sparkle.


Hobson sang “Proud Mary” and actually made people get up and dance.


Judge Dan Calhoon , show choir director at Brodhead High School, said he wanted to see a little more choreography from the contestants but was pleased the song selection. At last year’s event, several people sang the same song.


His advice for the contestants?


“They should keep singing,” Calhoon said. “This is a really good experience for them.”



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