Cliff Grassmick
hane Church, a CU senior, sings a Stevie Wonder song for the judges. The 11th Annual CU Idol was held at Club 156 in the UMC at the University of Colorado on February 16, 2012.


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If you go

What: CU Idol auditions

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. today

Where: Club 156 in the UMC

Cost: Free

tinyurl.com/HerdCUIdol

U niversity of Colorado’s version of “American Idol” kicked off Thursday with its first day of student auditions and will resume its second day today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Club 156 in the University Memorial Center.

CU students interested in auditioning should prepare a 30-second a cappella song for the judges — a group made up of leaders from the student alumni association, The Herd. Participants get a free CU Idol T-shirt.

Dawn Barone, The Herd program manager, said confidence — not cockiness — is key to making it into the top eight to 10 contestants who perform in the final three rounds in March. She said about 75 people audition each year.

However, Marni Spott, president of The Herd, said it takes more than a great voice to make it in the competition.

“I always enjoy when they have a good stage presence and if they interact with the judges really well and have a personality,” Spott said. “If you’re kind of just standing up there, not really doing anything it’s kind of boring. We like entertainment.”

Thursday’s auditions produced everything from rap, to “The Star Spangled Banner,” to Adele’s “Chasing Pavements,” Barone said.

Two past performances of note, according to Barone, included a singer who channeled his inner-Frank Sinatra and CU senior David DiGioia, who performed a unique rap.

DiGioia said he auditioned again this year in hopes of taking the top prize. In his audition, he performed his own song about his small hometown in New Jersey. DiGioia said he was more nervous about making a good connection with the judges, rather than performing the song itself.

Junior Stephanie Burgess said she becomes nervous halfway through her performances, but said it’s more of an adrenaline rush. Burgess’ sister landed in the CU Idol final show, so she convinced her Stephanie to audition this year. Burgess has performed the national anthem at CU volleyball and basketball games, so she chose the anthem for Thursday’s audition.

The CU Idol winner will be chosen March 9, where the final show will be held in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. The event includes intermission acts — ranging from jump ropers to comedy groups — and attracts about 700 audience members. Spott said she hopes to draw more people to the final show by having celebrities as their three guest judges.

This year, CU alum Anthony Hull will be one of the judges. Hull is known for his documentary web series “Ant’s World,” and more recently, his starring role in a commercial for the smartphone, HTC Rezound.

The top three CU Idol finalists win cash prizes from $250-$1000 — where half of the prize money must support a campus department or student group. Barone said this helps instill the idea of giving back.

Making it to the final show isn’t an easy task. Barone encourages students to display their personality in their auditions.

“Show me who you are,” Barone said. “I think that should say it all. Just be yourself and sing your little heart out.”

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