After Farmington Idol contestants took a deep breath, shook off their nerves and belted out their songs Friday night, International Academy student and Farmington Hills resident Depak Kumar took home the title.
Kumar played the guitar and sang his rendition of “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5, which ultimately led him to the win.
“I was really surprised and I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to do this,” Kumar, 16, said.
While 11 contestants were chosen after auditions Thursday, 10 actually showed up to perform at the Gordon Food Service (GFS) entertainment stage during the Downtown Farmington Founders Festival. Two involved Farmington women, Elise Newcomer, Miss Farmington 2011, and Kelly Duca, former Miss Farmington and Miss Oakland County, emceed the event.
“I’ve been emceeing Farmington Idol since it started five years ago and I love being involved in the Founders Festival,” Duca said.
Along with the emcees, local thespian Mike Gingerella, Stacy Jenkins, editor of the Farmington Observer, Terry Beach, general manager at GFS in Farmington Hills, Corinna Weber, a television producer and Farmington Hills resident, and Bill Bresler, a photographer for the Observer & Eccentric newspapers, all judged the event. The singers were judged on a scale of 1-10 based on song choice, stage presence, audience reaction, and quality of voice.
But anyone with a $20 bill might have won this year's Farmington Idol, if it was left up to Gingerella.
“I’m always looking for bribes," he joked. "But beyond talent, I look for originality when someone sings. If they sing Justin Bieber, it isn’t going to grab my attention. But bribes always get my attention."
“I was looking for a voice to give me goosebumps,” Jenkins said.
Kumar fit the bill for the judges, even though he has only been playing the guitar for a year. He said he started at the encouragement of a friend.
“I sing in the shower all the time and while my parents are out of the house,” Kumar said.
Kumar’s younger brother, Prakash, 13, had his own opinion of his brother’s music.
“It gets quite annoying when he sings in the shower all the time. But, he’s worked really hard and is always practicing,” Prakash said.
Kumar’s musical performances won’t stop with Farmington Idol. He has expressed interest in possibly trying out for American Idol in the future. Also, Kumar and a few other friends have organized a benefit concert for children’s leukemia at Seaholm High School in Birmingham on Aug. 12.
For more information about the concert, go to musicforthefuture.bigcartel.com.