Perry Idol packs house, raises money for cancer reearch

August 28, 2013 

Taylor Garrison, left, and Alexis Korink were the big winners at the 2013 Perry Idol competition.

SPECIAL TO THE SUN NEWS

KATHLEEN -- Taylor Garrison and Alexis Korink sang their way to success Saturday taking top honors in the 2013 Perry Idol competition.

Taylor made her way to the evening’s final round of the adult category by singing “Free Fallin’ ” before a near capacity crowd in Veterans High School’s 600-seat auditorium.

She clinched the win singing “Summertime.”

In the youth category for contestants younger than 14 years old, Alexis made the final round singing “I Need You Now” then performed “Jesus, Take the Wheel” to win.

“I’m so incredibly blessed to have been involved with Perry Idol,” said Taylor, a 15-year-old student at Macon’s First Presbyterian Day School. “I met so many talented and wonderful people. It was truly the best night of my life.”

For taking first place, Taylor received $200 and a ticket to Hollywood Studios to try out for the American Idol Experience.

Alexis, 11, is a sixth-grader at Crawford County Middle School. As youth winner, she received a $150 prize.

In addition to providing a platform for 27 Middle Georgians who made it through a series of auditions to the final Perry Idol event, the finale raised an estimated $7,000 for the Macy Easom Cancer Research Foundation, a Perry nonprofit foundation that raises money for pediatric cancer research.

The organization was founded in honor of Macy Easom, who was diagnosed at age 4 with hepatoblastoma, a cancer of the liver. She died when she was 5.

From the night’s initial 14 adult competitors, six finalists were selected for the evening’s final round. They were Taylor; Steven Little, runner-up and $150 prize winner; Samantha Cumbie; Cassy Chaney; Morgan James; and Russell Bugg.

Among 13 youth competitors, the final six were Alexis; Savannah Cumbie, runner-up and $75 prize winner; Jessi Crutchfield; Abbigail Fisher; Victoria Day; and Nayah Terry.

Contestants were judged on stage presence and professionalism, technical ability, originality and overall impression. Each paid an audition fee of $15.

Perry Idol started as part of Perry’s Dogwood Festival and originally was sponsored by the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce. The competition was taken over this year as its own entity by Matt Dixon, owner of Advanced Eyecare Center in Perry.

Dixon is a musician himself, who said he had a few nervous jitters along the way to Perry Idol’s big night.

“A few weeks ago, I was certain we had picked the wrong time of year for Perry Idol 2013 and that we’d have to cancel the show,” he said. “Auditions were slow this summer, but after a strong turnout (for auditions on) Aug. 6, we continued with our plan to hold the show at Veterans High School -- the result was a packed house. It was the perfect facility.”

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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