Junior Katherine Paterson sings her way to a Whitman Idol win

By Carolyn Freeman

Whitman has spoken. Junior Katherine Paterson earned the title of Whitman Idol Feb. 2 for her rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.”

From left to right: Senior Sofie Todd, sophomore Lex Payne, junior Lucas Weals, junior Ryan Savage. The four contestants perform "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction along with all the other contestants. Photo by Billy Bird.

Paterson was a clear favorite, even among the other contestants.

“She definitely deserved it,” junior Calvin Shalch said. “I told her before she went on, ‘they always save the best for last.’”

The event kicked off Leukemia & Lymphoma month and raised $1,984 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All proceeds from each fundraising event will be donated to LLS. Seniors Sofie Todd and Cassie Rabner came in second and third place respectively.

Though many contestants chose soulful pieces such as Bill Withers 1971 hit “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Rabner choose David Gutta’s upbeat “Titanium” and Todd performed an original song about her ex-girlfriend called “Drowning Shelter.”

“She grew up really fast within the space of six months,” Todd said of her ex-girlfriend. “She wanted me to follow her. But I didn’t know at that moment how she wanted me to change, so it was kind of scary.”

Much like on American Idol, the viewers chose the winner of Whitman Idol. As students and parents entered the auditorium they picked up a program. During intermission audience members placed their program into the box labeled with the name of the contestant they wanted to vote for.

A panel of three teacher judges helped audience members with their decision by critiquing performances. The judges were special education teacher Rebecca Brown, math teacher Tyler Wilkinson and chemistry teacher Jasen Gohn, who dressed up as American Idol judge Keith Urban.

Despite often being the comic relief of the show, the judges did provide positive assessments to all the contestants.

“I was speechless,” Gohn said after Patterson’s performance. “In class you were always so quiet. I didn’t know how good a singer you were.”

Seniors Ben James and Molly Moriarty emceed the competition. After each performance they asked questions to give the audience a little insight into the personalities of the contestants.

For example, when asked whether she was happy to finally put an end to the stereotype that gingers don’t have souls, redheaded junior Nicole Ramirez answered that she was excited to be “a role model to gingers all over the world.”

Even though the show was delayed due to snow last week, music producer Emma Keteltas said she was pleased everything ran smoothly and found all the performances impressive. Keteltas won Whitman Idol two years ago. She and student director Abby Lederman closed out this year’s show with their performance of “Ghost” by Ingrid Michaelson.

“Everything always comes together on the night,” Keteltas said.