Last Saturday in the Den, Phillips Academy crowned this year’s Andover Idol, Kristina Rex ’11. The show starred Rex, Faiyad Ahmad ’10 and Camerin Stoldt ’12, the three amazing finalists from a starting pool of 35 contestants. The contestants vied for the chance to record a CD with WPAA and a $50 gift card to My Brother’s Pizza, the contest’s sponsor. The final round of Andover Idol was hosted by Julian Chernyk ’10, the General Manager of WPAA. Chernyk introduced the first singer, PA’s one and only School President, Ahmad, onto the stage. Ahmad sang “Baby” by Justin Bieber. Fellow competitors Stoldt and Rex, along with Elizabeth Carollo ’11, provided a rap interlude. The WPAA band, which included Dominick Chang ’11, Sam August ’10 and Derek Farquhar ’12, provided accompaniment for Ahmad’s singing. “Faiyad’s song was really sweet and it was executed really well,” said Laura Wu ’10. Ahmad’s tenor voice not only contrasted nicely with the girls’ rapping, but also brought out the song’s original melodies well. Jackie Higgins ’12 said that Ahmad “picked a good song that showcased his voice.” Ahmad’s singing especially drew cheers from female audience members, who were extremely excited to hear a rendition of Bieber’s popular song. The “judges,” Megan Paulson, Instructor in History, Kurt Paulson and Peter Cirelli, Chair of the Music Department, provided comments to the contestants after their performances. Stoldt took the stage next, singing The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Do You Believe in Magic,” a tune that highlighted her raw, rock-style voice. Despite being the youngest of the three, Stoldt seemed poised and confident. The audience hummed along to the familiar song. “I expected to come to a concert where you couldn’t really hear the [singer’s] voice, but it was the opposite,” said Shirley Guo ’11, an audience member. The final singer, Rex, definitely captured every audience member’s attention with a bold interpretation of Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Rex stunned audience members with her impressive vocal range when she went up the register and hit very high notes with ease. She blended gospel-like improvisation with clear vocal technique, illustrating her musical experience in classical, theatrical and pop styles. “Kristina really showed the emotion through her piece,” said Dan Aronov ’11, an audience member. Rex’s animated facial expressions also made her singing more approachable and fun to eager audience members who were just amazed by Rex’s singing. Many people, including the judges, greatly praised Rex’s stage presence. “Kristina had amazing stage presence and her voice just went up so high!” said Jessica Weng ’11. After audience members voted for their favorite singer on paper ballots, Chernyk approached the microphone once more, and this time announced the winner – Kristina Rex. Rex smiled happily as she received a big check of fifty dollars from My Brother’s Pizza. She then did an encore of “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus, which provided a cute and inspirational ending to this year’s Andover Idol. Rex handled the high notes of the Cyrus theme with grace. She approached the song like a story, using her facial expressions and clear voice to convey its uplifting message. Derek Farquhar ’12, WPAA Head of Special Events, who organized Andover Idol this year, gave some insights into how it began. Andover Idol actually started in 2007 but fell into disarray as a result of bad organization and planning overall. Farquhar said that WPAA “felt it was a great idea to bring it back.” Indeed, this year’s show was a great success. The auditions began with 35 initial contestants, narrowing to 15, then seven, then five, until only three contestants remained. WPAA streamed the first few rounds on its website, wpaa.com. Only the grand finale was a live event that students could attend. The grand finale was short, lasting about 30 minutes, but it was a great way to end and crown PA’s first Andover Idol. Audience members who craved more amazing singing will just have to wait until next year, when another fantastic set of Andover singers will perform for the PA community.