Steven Carlson of Colville took home first place and $750 from the Chewelah American Legion Karaoke Contest that finished Friday, Oct. 19.
Carlson said he was excited and honored to be selected.
“It’s been an amazing experience, I still can’t believe it honestly,” he said.
There were 16 other finalists who competed on “Finale Friday.”
The top five winners received cash prizes, furnished by Davis Financial, LLC.
Second place – $450: Leslie Masuda of Chewelah
Third place – $250: Lindsay Phillips of Spokane Valley
Fourth place – $100: Marlana Francis of Spokane
Fifth place – $50: Emily Rusher of Chewelah
The 17 finalists qualified after the preliminary rounds that took place at the Chewelah American Legion every Friday beginning Sept. 21. Twenty-five contestants participated in each of the four preliminaries and the top two plus any ties advanced to the final round where they sang two songs of their choice.
For the finale, Carlson sang Long Black Train by Josh Turner, and Goodbye Time by Blake Shelton. He said he chose those songs because he has received positive responses for them at other karaoke events he has participated in the past. Carlson also said it is good material for his voice and range.
“It was an intense night with amazing singers,” Carlson said. “I wouldn’t have guessed it would work out the way it did.”
He competed on the first night (Sept. 21) with his wife Jamie, who also qualified in the finals. During the preliminaries, Carlson sang Ol’ Red by Blake Shelton.
Carlson is currently working on an Associate of Arts Degree while working at Wal-Mart in Colville.
He said he started doing karaoke regularly about a year ago and it has made him much more confident with singing in public. However, this was the first contest he has entered.
Linda St. John, owner of Whispering Ridge Ent. LLC, who co-sponsored the event with Davis Financial, said the finale contestants were the “cream of the crop.”
“It was fabulous, talk about the event of the year,” St. John said.
The judges for the finale were Chris Carpenter, Joan Mach and Jim Olsen. St. Johns said each had previously judged and were chosen for the finale based on the job they did at the preliminaries.
Whispering Ridge Ent. and Davis Financial organized the contest to help bring more revenue to the Chewelah American Legion.
“It helped the legion get reacquainted with the community,” St. John said.
The legion is a big advocate of Chewelah and a busy club with a very active group of people, St. John said.
Although preliminaries had a full audience each night, she said the finale night saw even more spectators filling the club, and overflowing into the back hall. Most stayed for the whole competition that finished at about midnight.
Overall, the competition drew participants from within a 100- mile radius of Chewelah, and some came from as far as Montana.
The contest planning committee appreciates everyone’s support and is grateful to all who were involved, St. John said.
Whispering Ridge Ent. and Davis Financial are planning another karaoke contest for next fall with the same prize amounts and St. John said they expect it to be even bigger than this year’s contest.
By Kellie Trudeau, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: The Chewelah American Legion top five were (L-R): fifth place – Emily Rusher of Chewelah, second place – Leslie Masuda of Chewelah, third place – Lindsay Phillips of Spokane Valley, fourth place- Marlana Francis of Spokane, and first place – Steven Carlson of Colville. Elaine Roach photo