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The Royal Idol 2019 contestants. Back row, from left, Mason Windross, Ayden Young, Noah Aasman. Front row, from left, Sasha Morano, Jadzia Leask, Cydney Morris, Ainoa Rodriguez Dopazo, Lauren Gilbert and Kyra Brough.

Hub Staff

It was an impressive showing as the 2019 Royal Idol played to a nearly packed house in the Cafetorium at Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS) January 17.

Performing to this year's theme of Tributes and Legends, talented contestants from every grade sang everything from Frank Sinatra to The Cranberries to Elvis Presley and Pink Floyd. But it was Grade 9 student Lauren Gilbert performing Whitney Houston's rendition of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You that most impressed the judges.

Master of Ceremonies, SDSS english teacher Shannon Ferguson said that the Royal Idol presentation was a Vocal class project and part of the students' final mark.

The assignment is designed around "five Ps," explained Ferguson, that include planning, promoting, preparation, performance and finally a "post box component" where students write a final report on the entire project.

SDSS music teacher Kerrie Lynn Boys explained that this year's judges panel consisted of the same three judges who adjudicated the very first Royal Idol competition at SDSS five years ago. "They've come full circle," she said.

Following Gilbert's performance, judge and English teacher Kevin Darlington remarked that she had picked a "giant song" and said her performance was "pitch perfect."

"You fill the room and then some," said Darlington.

"Holy moly," said judge Margaret Wysman who also teaches math at SDSS. "It was so clear how much you enjoyed performing," she said.

"I really like the colour of your voice, it's got depth to it, it's interesting to listen to," said Wysman. "I can hardly wait to hear what else is going to come out of you in the future," she said.

Adjudicator and French teacher Matthew Smith said he was really struck by how expressive Gilbert's voice was, calling it "amazingly powerful."

"How it changed throughout the song to express different ideas and different feelings in the song, it was very impressive," he said.

Following her performance Gilbert said she loves singing and when she first started performing on stage was when she realized she could sing. "It just gave me a rush of confidence and just the most amazing feeling and I love music so much," she said. After her win was announced, Gilbert described the experience as "surreal."

"I didn't think I would win at all because there's so many amazing singers," she said.

Following the competition Mrs Boys explained that this year was the fifth and final Royal Idol at SDSS. "It's been an absolute blast being able to put this on with the music class every year," she said but promised the audience that the plan was to rebrand and bring something new to life.

Second place for Royal Idol 2019 was awarded to Grade 11 student Cydney Morris with her rendition of Jealous by Labyrinth. Third place went to Sasha Morano, a Grade 12 student who performed Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing.

Other contestants were:

Kyra Brough – Grade 10 – Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams
Ainoa Rodriguez Dopazo – Grade 11 - Zombie – The Cranberries
Noah Aasman – Grade 12 - Come Fly With Me – Frank Sinatra
Ayden Young – Grade 12 – Elvis Presley's rendition of Teddy Bear
Mason Windross – Grade 11 – Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Jadzia Leask – Grade 11 - Queen Latifah's rendition of Big, Blonde & Beautiful from Hairspray


There were smiles, cheers and applause from the audience and fellow contestants as Lauren Gilbert (third from left) was announced the winner of Royal Idol.


Royal Idol 2019 top three performers were, from left, Cydney Morris in second place, Lauren Gilbert in first and Sasha Morano in third.


This year was the fifth and final Royal Idol competition at Saugeen District Secondary School with the same judges who had adjudicated the first. From left, teachers Matthew Smith, Margaret Wysman and Kevin Darlington.

Kyra Brough

Grade 10 student Kyra Brough opened the show paying tribute to Bryan Adams' Summer of 69.

Ainoa Rodriguez Dopaza

All the way from Spain, Grade 11 exchange student Ainoa Rodriguez Dopazo performed Zombie by The Cranberries.

Noah Aasman

Crooning on stage was Grade 12 student Noah Aasman as he performed Frank Sinatra's Come Fly With Me.

Lauren Gilbert

A powerful performance of I Will Always Love You by Grade 9 student Lauren Gilbert as she took first place in the fifth and final Royal Idol competition.

Ayden Young

Elvis Presley's Teddy Bear was the chosen song for Grade 12 student Ayden Young at Royal Idol 2019 which was themed Tributes and Legends.

Mason Windross

Grade 11 student Mason Windross paid tribute to English rock band Pink Floyd as he performed their song, Wish You Were Here.

Sasha Morano

Taking third place in the contest, Grade 12 student Sasha Morano performed the second Whitney Houston song of the contest, I Have Nothing.

Cydney Morris

Labrinth's Jealous was the chosen song for Grade 11 student Cydney Morris as she took second place in Royal Idol January 17.

Jadzia Leask

From the movie Hairspray, based on the musical of the same name, Grade 11 student Jadzia Leask performed Queen Latifah's Big, Blonde & Beautiful.

Gracienne Swarbrick

While the judges were deliberating the results of this year's Royal Idol competition, 2017 winner Gracienne Swarbrick took to the stage to entertain the audience with her performance of Aretha Franklin's Respect.

Amelia Willson

Guest performer and 2018 Royal Idol winner Amelia Willson came back to the stage and performed Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken by Pink.

The original version of this article had I Will Always Love You listed as a Whitney Houston's song when in fact it is Dolly Parton's. The information is corrected above.