Freshman duet wins Saratoga idol

December 12, 2018 — by Nitya Marimuthu and Jun Lee
Photo by Daniel Ning

Freshmen Selina Chen and Elaine Liu perform their duet at Saratoga Idol in the McAfee Center on Nov. 27.

The freshman duo of Selina Chen and Elaine Liu stood backstage at the McAfee Center on Nov. 27, changing into a spare set of clothes, sure that they would not be called back to the stage where they had just performed their duet of a Chinese song from the TV series “Eternal Love.” Chen played the Chinese harp, while Liu played the Chinese flute and sang.

When they heard their names being called as the winners of the annual singing competition, they were shocked and surged forward to the stage, realizing as they walked that they still had their spare set of clothes over their traditional Chinese dresses that they wore for the performance. They hurriedly got back in their Chinese clothes and went to collect their award. Chen described the situation as a “mess.”

The junior class officers organized Saratoga Idol. Chen and Liu received the judge’s pick, while the group ARM, consisting of juniors Alena Jarrett, Mihir Bettadapur and Risa Carter, who sang “Last Christmas,” won the People’s Choice Award, which was voted upon by the audience.

Junior class representative Claire Smerdon said that they had a high participation this year, with the class fundraising more than $500. Leadership teacher Matt Torrens estimated that around 75 people came out to watch the performances. Each of 15 performers.

“We had a lot of people that were just really talented and were doing it because they just really enjoyed singing and they wanted to show off their talent,” Smerdon said.

The People’s Choice Award was determined by audience members, who could vote through QR codes or the provided link, according Smerdon.

The judging panel consisted of Spanish teacher Bret Yeilding, Chinese teacher Sara Tseng, drama and English teacher Sarah Thermond and principal Paul Robinson. Smerdon said that each judge had a rubric, numbered 1-10, with categories such as charisma, song choice, and performance.

Chen said that she was not expecting to win at all. However, she was not nervous to perform due to her extensive knowledge in the instrument. According to Chen, their only setback was a last-minute change that they made to the song, requiring them to rework the whole performance.

“We lowered the tune of the song the day before the actual show so before the show basically we had like one hour to redo the whole thing,” Chen said. “So that’s why I was kind of shaky, but otherwise I wasn't really nervous.”

Chen said that she had a good experience at Saratoga idol and she felt very comfortable on the stage.

“It felt pretty natural because it’s the McAfee and we’re all familiar with it and we’re familiar with the audience and the judges,” Chen said.

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