Warne wins Mountaineer Idol
Meghan Carlson is first runner-up, Nicole Mata is second runner-up
Published: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Updated: Friday, November 13, 2009 10:11
After weeks of stress, eliminations, song choices and performances, AJ Warne has been announced the 2009 Mountaineer Idol. Meghan Carlson received the first runner-up plaque while Nicole Mata was named as the second runner-up in this year's competition.
Each member of the final three sang three songs Sunday afternoon – the host's choice, the contestant's choice and a song they had already performed in this year's competition.
Carlson sang "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones, "Stars and The Moon" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Katharine McPhee.
Mata sang "Respect" by Aretha Franklin, "How Come You Don't Call Me" by Alicia Keys and "At Last" by Etta James.
Warne's choices were "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, "Beyond The Sea" by Bobby Darin and "Feeling Good" by Michael Buble.
- See the bottom of this story for performances from the three finalists
Warne's combination of classic jazz standards sealed him the win.
"I feel very relieved and am happy that it's over," he said. "But I was actually really surprised. Let's just say the outcome was definitely favorable."
Warne received a $1,000 check from the Mountaineer Idol's Coca-Cola sponsors.
"It's all going straight into my savings account," he said. "I'm going to try and build up some money."
Carlson, who received second place and a check for $750, is ready to celebrate.
"I'm so ready to relax," she said. "But a little celebrating and shopping may be involved."
As for whether or not Carlson plans to try out again next year, she hasn't decided. "I'm not quite sure yet, my friend might try out with me next year, so it's a maybe for now," she said.
Mountaineer Idol's head judge for the past six years Shirley Robinson was really proud of this year's contestants.
"I try not to compare them year by year because they're totally different people," Robinson said. "It's definitely improved over the years, and I am so proud. These contestants are so down-to-earth and really easy to talk to," she continued.
Her best advice? "Keep on singing," she said.
When it comes to Robinson's thoughts on this year's outcome, she says Warne deserves it.
"AJ has had really solid performances and has been very consistent," she said. "It's also been really surprising to hear that kind of voice come out of him."
The audience and crowd, however, had mixed feelings. Sara Khoury, a sophomore child development major, felt as though the Mountaineer Idol title should have gone in Mata's direction.
"I didn't really like the results," she said. "I really felt Nicole should have won because she has the stage presence and the overall talent. She's also really personable when she performs."
Jessica Scarrett, a 15-year-old student at Robert C. Byrd High School, was very happy with the outcome. "I was really excited to see AJ win because he's my cousin," she admitted.
"The other girls were really good, but I love AJ, and he deserved to win it," Scarrett said.
What was once a pool of 15 finalists has now been narrowed down to one winner – a very happy and relieved Warne. Celebration on Sunday night was in store for the newly crowned 2009 Mountaineer Idol.
"Tonight I am going to go out and have dinner with my family," he said. "But after that I am coming back to celebrate with all of my friends and frat boys."