BEMUS POINT - After Monday night's Chautauqua Lake Voices had wrapped up, 19 singers had taken the floating stage over the course of two weeks.
In front of hundreds of onlookers, the elimination round began during week two, leaving the top 12 performers for Billy Joel night next week. However, the decision of who was eliminated was not completed until late in the evening, thus the announcement will be made on SE93 today.
According to Andrew Hill, director of operations and programming for Media One Group, producer and host of the show, because of the level of talent this year, the decision of who to eliminate is going to be difficult for the judges through the course of the competition.
"It went awesome - one of the best shows we've ever produced," said Hill. "The talent was here, ready to perform, and they met every expectation that we had for them. As the judges said, it's going to be one heck of a summer because there are going to be a lot of difficult decisions to be made."
Week two of the competition featured nine performers including: Bill Brunacini, a 50-year-old from Jamestown; Becca Erlick, a 29-year-old who lives in Bemus Point and is originally from Waterford; Julie Haight, a 27-year-old who is originally from Erie and currently lives in Jamestown; Elizabeth Lucas, a 20-year-old from Jamestown; Michael Nugent, a 19-year-old from Lancaster; Sara Ross, a 30-year-old from Brocton; Shelby Seidler, a 21-year-old originally from Hollywood, Fla., who currently works on Lake Erie for the Coast Guard; Teal Weatherley, a 30-year-old from Jamestown; and Emily Windoft, a 19-year-old from Lakewood.
The show opened with Nugent performing "Beautiful Day" by Michael Buble. "That was like a free Buble concert - thanks," said judge Tim Edborg. Brunacini's "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey earned him compliments from judges Michelle Paterniti and Patricia Newman. "It's not easy to emulate - but you did a good job," said Newman. "Better than I expected," added Paterniti. Lucas' rendition of "Too Close" by Alex Clare had Paterniti describing her voice as pure and angelic. Erlick's "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones had the four judges agreeing that she could have made a better song choice.
After Haight's "Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys, Edborg said, "You put Julie Haight in it," and Newman added, "(You have a) powerful voice that resonates." Ross' smoky and husky voice during "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" by KT Tunstall earned Newman's praise, while judge Drew Minton felt that she could take it a bit further but not too far so she doesn't lose what she's got. Seidler took on the exhausting "Drops of Jupiter" by Train, which had Edborg glued to her from the moment she picked up the mic.
According to Paterniti, Weatherley's choice of "Brave" by Sara Barielles couldn't have been better. The performance earned a, "total homerun" from Edborg and a, "natural-born performer" from Minton. Windoft's "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers earned her the audience's praise, earning her "coolest performer" status to guarantee her an encore during next week's performance. According to Edborg, the song was a great way to end the night. Newman commented that Windoft had a great range. "Your tone is smooth and welcoming," Paterniti said.
Nicole Tenpas, voted "coolest performer" during week one, was the only performer from week one who was awarded the opportunity to perform during week two. She once again performed "Last Name" by Carrie Underwood. The other performers from week one include: Shelby Saylor, Hannah Kellom, Dylan Carlson, Jennie Melquist, Mike Bidney, Allison Beach, Jamie Haight, Maria Sena and Victoria McIlvain.
It was also announced during the show that after a decade of performing with John Cross and the Babalu Band, Monday evening was Mark Alpaugh's final performance with the band.
Next week's performance will feature hits from the piano man himself, Billy Joel. The remaining 12 competitors will vie for the chance to move on to the Bon Jovi and Madonna combo night on July 29.
"He is an American standard, and if you don't know a Billy Joel song then you must live under a rock," said Hill. "The songs are timeless, the lyrics are understandable and he's a great storyteller. It's a bit of an encore because we've done this theme before, but Billy Joel is a great artist and the singers are going to do a great job."
The competition will continue Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Floating Stage in Bemus Point. For more information visit www.ChautauquaLakeVoices.com or search for "Chautauqua Lake Voices" on Facebook.