BY WESLEY BUTLER
“Instead of just having one winner, the contestants are narrowed down to a top two,” said Becky Saba, program and communications co-ordinator at Conestoga Students Inc. and one of the contest’s judges. “The idea of this show is to not necessarily hold a formal contest, but to have fun and not make anyone feel excluded.”
Students could try out for the X Factor from April 2 to 12 in front of Saba, Brendan Hancock, promotions leader at CSI, and Samantha Schwier, a CSI events assistant.
“When I sit and listen to contestants, I don’t find myself really judging them,” said Hancock. “It’s mostly just a hobby for me.”
Contestants had the option of using musical instruments to accompany their performances and could perform a rap, R&B, hip hop or country song.
The judges weren’t necessarily critiquing contestants’ technical abilities as is done on the TV show. Schwier, Hancock and Saba are scoring the contestants based on audience engagement, stage presence, pitch, projection and overall vocals. Although they did this to gain a good understanding of how contestants performed, their primary objective isn’t to find the “best singer.”
“We don’t want this to be a strenuous event for anyone involved,” Saba said. “The idea is to have a good time. We want people to come out and have fun, and for the contestants to enjoy the experience.”
CSI X Factor isn’t the first talent contest that has been held at the college. Throughout the past five years, CSI has held events like CSI Idol and So You Think You Got Talent? These events are for students to use as a platform to showcase their talents, not necessarily be sorted into “good” and “bad” performers. X Factor is being held again this year because of the increasing popularity of the TV show.
The contestant who receives the most votes from the audience receives $300, the second place contender receives $200 and the third place contender is awarded $100.
The finals will be held in the Sanctuary on April 16.
For more information about CSI X Factor, visit CSI’s website at www.conestogastudents.com.