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Seattle's Pride Idol: Week one
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Seattle's Pride Idol: Week one

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

2010 SOaP Pride Idol
R Place
Sundays April 18 &
May 1-June 20


On Sunday, April 18, and then every Sunday from May 1 to June 20, yours truly will be a judge for the 2010 Seattle Out and Proud (SOaP) Pride Idol competition at R Place. If the April 11 preliminary is the standard to judge this season by, then we are in for a treat! Sunday's competition was fierce, the song choices ranged from perfect to "what?" and the contestants were cute as can be.

First up to wow the judges was super-cute Ryan Crawford (whose doppelganger is a young Richard Gere!). It's not easy to go first, but Ryan brought it and set the tone for the evening: this is not your normal run-of-the-mill karaoke competition. Ryan, who was perfectly comfortable onstage, sang a happy, upbeat version of Fiona Apple's "Criminal" and, for his second number, a sexy, sleek version of "This Woman's Work" by Maxwell.

Following Ryan was no easy task, but contestant number two, Brian "Bee Jay" Maxwell, seemed to hold his own as he crooned us with "Lady" by Kenny Rogers, and for his second attempt at advancing to the finals, gave us a heartfelt rendition of another Rogers song, "I Can't Unlove You."

Contestant number three, the lovable and energetic Dante Rogers, brought star quality and a fun attitude to the competition. Dante's first offering, John Legend's "Ordinary People," was a spot-on performance of the R&B hit, but it was his second pick - newly openly Gay Ricky Martin's "Living La Vida Loca" - that won the judges and the audience over.

The surprise of the night, by a long shot, was miss Sabina Pitts, who seemed to say "I came here to sing what I love and there ain't nothing you can do about it." Although the song choices may not have been the smartest move, Sabina was having a good time, which transferred to the audience quite well. The Seattle rock 'n' roll fan sang "Helena" by My Chemical Romance and Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything for Love." You go, girl!

Kellye Rowland, contestant number five, was a breath of fresh air. Kellye did not show up to simply "impersonate" anyone; she showed up to sing from the heart and to win a spot in the Pride Idol finals. Taking a chance (brave!), she sang Annie Lennox's "Why" and then gave serious attitude as she delivered a great version of Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man."

When all was said and done - and trust me, there was a lot said and a lot done - the winner of the first Pride Idol preliminary was Kellye Rowland (who will go on to compete at the June 20 Pride Idol Finals) and "wildcard" winner Dante Rogers (who will get one more chance to make it to the finals during the June 13 Wildcard Round).

2010 Pride Idol takes place Sunday nights at 8 p.m. inside R Place on the third floor. The very charming Eduardo Khawam, a local events producer, returns from last season to host the show. DJ and co-host Sexxxual Chocolate has over 10,000 songs (covering everything from the 1950s to now) for you to choose from.

Seattle, it doesn't matter if you can sing like Jennifer Hudson or can barely carry a tune in the shower. Sign up, sing us a song, and have fun. Make sure you come up and say "hi" and look for your group or performance photos on the Seattle Gay News Facebook page.

For a complete schedule, song list, and registration and rules information, visit the official 2010 SOaP Pride Idol website at www.idol.seattlepride.org.

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