First-timer steals the show


Ashley Elmore smiles for the camera after winning first place in Decatur Idol for her rendition of “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me” by Cher.

As students found seats in the auditorium waiting for Decatur Idol contestants, the performers wait anxiously for their chance to be seen in front of their student body. Inside they are beyond nervous to face the spotlight and judgment.

Band director Megan Williams held the fourth annual singing competition, Decatur Idol, on May 9 in the auditorium.

This year the show consisted of many new faces; even students from Renfroe Middle School participated.

One contestant, freshman Ashley Elmore, stood out. Elmore has been singing since she was five years old but this was her first year participating in Decatur Idol.

“All my friends and family really wanted me to do it, and I figured ‘well, why not.’ Even if I don’t win, it’s still a pretty awesome accomplishment for me,” Elmore said.

Elmore was a cast member of Decatur’s Light 74 Production of Anything Goes, which sold out all three nights they performed. Being a part of the play helped her to be more prepared for Decatur Idol. That production tested her singing, dancing, and acting all at the same time.

Although Anything Goes and Decatur Idol are the first times the student body has seen Elmore perform, these are far from her first times on stage.

“I’ve been in multiple plays, concerts, and performances at my previous schools,” Elmore said.

Decatur Idol takes less technique but brings more anxiety since they only held one rehearsal the day before the show. Elmore believes the time allotted for the participants to prepare was not sufficient.

“I think we should have a lot more time to prepare but I guess this is their way of testing us and seeing if we can handle the pressure to be the next Decatur Idol,” Elmore said.

Even previous contestant senior Ayanna Holt says that it takes a lot to go up on stage. “It was incredibly nervous up on stage when I participated ninth grade year,” Holt said.

Rehearsals were held May 8, and the show was the following day. Even though they had a short period of time to prepare, all of the contestants stayed positive and helped her to have more confidence.

“The other contestants clapped and cheered, so that really uplifted me,” Elmore said.

The night of Decatur Idol the audience was positive and respectful of all the contestants, which Elmore says made it a lot easier. She even had her own way of preparing herself to sing.

“I have no dairy products, and I pray to God and ask that He blesses me and helps me be the best I can be,” Elmore said. That all paid off because Elmore won first place in this year’s show.

Her sister was surprised at the reception Elmore got.

“I didn’t think the audience would relate to the song she sang because it was not a popular song,” senior Lydia Elmore said, “but I was so proud to see her up there.”

Overall the show was a learning experience for the first-time participant.

“It was an overwhelming feeling of joy and happiness that I will never forget. I actually felt like I had won American Idol,” Elmore said.

See Elmore’s performance of “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” by Cher below.