STORY: H. Jose Bosch

Stars Shine Bright In WTG Idol

As I walked into Alumni Hall on the campus of the University Western Ontario, the sound of songs from the 1980's, accompanied by videos, overloaded my senses. Luckily for the hundreds of fans attending the very first World Transplant Games Idol competition, the night wasn’t about reliving the glory days of Members Only jackets, Swatches, and jellies.

The night belonged to the 14 different contestants who participated and wowed the crowd with their artistic abilities. I wanted to watch the show, and brought a camera along. I also declared myself the unofficial fifth judge of the evening.

  These three members of Team USA sat next to me in the grandstand. Unfortunately, I forgot to get their names, but they were very nice. The man on the left is from a state which he didn't want you to know about, becuase he was afraid of embarresing his state (thus the crossed arms). I’ll give you a clue…it rhymes with Fichigan.
  These lovely volunteers served drinks to all the patrons. I myself didn’t purchase one, but you can be assured it would have been nothing more than soda, since I'm not legal yet. Yeah, soda.
  Canada, the United States, and Australia are all represented here.
  The obligatory “Stick my camera in the air and see what kind of picture I get” shot.
  It is tough being the first act, but Dave Hooper (double lung, 2002) did an excellent job getting the crowd going. This Aussie sounded like a true country music star, singing "I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair." As one of the judges said, “He looks happy to be alive.” Amen.
C.J. Etzebeth’s rendition of "Out of Africa" was touching and his African-inspired outfit was the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae. Beautiful.
  Her interests included, “Likes SHAKING IT on the dance floor.” Well she may have not been SHAKING IT, but she sure HAd IT tonight, with her rendition of Mariah Carey’s song "Hero." I certainly enjoyed the performance.
Elena Linzalata's (kidney 2004) rendition of the song "Summertime," in honor of her donor and their family, was as sensual as the black dress she wore. She is a woman with class and this was one of the better versions of "Summertime" I’ve heard.
  Freddy Vanstaen from Belgium (here supporting his younger brother Lucien, who received a transplant last year) just about nailed Frank Sinatra to a T. In his stylish grey suit, Vanstaen caused the women in the audience to swoon when he sang the tune of “My Way.” Somewhere Frankie is crying tears of joy.
  The pride and joy of Scotland, Natassja Davies (also supporting her brother, Graeme), inspired not one, but two conga lines while she sang "(Is This The Way to) Amarillo." Last I checked I didn’t see Cher inspiring two conga lines at her concerts.
  Jorie Von Ohlen of the U.S. re-worked the words of her song in honor of her donor. Anyone whose eyes stayed dry, will you please raise your hand?
That’s what I thought. Neither did I.
  At five years old, Tyler Harrold sang Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine" in front of a packed house and got a standing ovation. When I was five I couldn’t even get my mother to clap for me when I colored inside the lines.
Becky Davidson from Great Britain wore a white dress and sang the Eva Cassidy version of Sting's "Fields of Gold" in a lovely voice. Um, excuse me, Becky? Do your feet hurt? Because I do believe you just fell from heaven.
  Liz Schick’s version of "The Lady is a Tramp" could be best described as sultry. In the words of my 8th grade English teacher, “Yee-ow.”
At one point during the show I thought it got hotter in the room.

Nope. It was just Lisa Cuthbertson (bone marrow 1985) singing Medley in a routine that would make Kylie Minogue blush. But there wasn't anything wrong with that.

  I thought Aretha Franklin had just entered the competion because there was no way that was a ten-year-old girl. Ah, but it was! Jordyn Griffin’s soulful singing of "I've Got The Music In Me" made me want to shout "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!"
  Todd Lawrence (kidney 2002) may have looked more like a wacky kid playing dress-up, but it was as good of an impersonation of Mick Jagger as I had seen in a long time…ok, so I had never seen an impersonation of Mick Jagger. It didn’t matter, this guy was great.
Well, I sure had fun watching this event and I’m sure you enjoyed reading about it (unless you went). The only thing left to do is announce the winner.

And the winner is…*drum roll* ...myself! for being able to sit back and enjoy all these wonderful people who have sung tonight. Thank you for not being just another '80's karaoke night.

Now, where is my mic...

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Last updated on: Friday, 05-Feb-2010 10:11:56 EST