November 29, 2020

Hallelujah! 14-year-old wins West Georgia Idol

(Hogansville, GA) — The judges and the audience shouted “Hallelujah” in unison Saturday night at the Hogansville Amphitheater, where Drew Cavender was not only named the 2013 West Georgia Idol, but also became the first Idol winner to take home the People’s Choice Award as well.

Cavender’s rendition  of Leonard Cohen’s 1984 release “Hallelujah” fittingly closed the show, as the 14-year-old from Pelham, GA became the youngest West Georgia Idol in the four-year history of the show sponsored annually by the Hogansville Downtown Development Authority.

Cavender and his supporters worked hard to earn the title, making a near 400 mile round trip drive from the south Georgia town several times over the past few weeks. He brought along a host of family and friends dubbed “The Drew Crew,” and seemed to be a clear Idol contender from the time he opened the competition in the difficult first slot on opening night.

“I am just happy and so excited,” said Cavender, who hopes to pursue a career in the recording industry after high school. Cavender is a member of the Thomasville Music & Drama Troupe and won a total of $1500 in cash ($1000-Idol + $500 – People’s Choice). He will also perform at the Hogansville Hummingbird Festival this fall.

Another 14-year-old (the youngest age allowed to compete), Erin Lamb of Newnan, GA, was the runner-up in the competition claiming $500 cash. Lamb is a rising freshman at Newnan High School. Her passion is singing and performing, although she also loves to act and dance.

“I am so excited. I had no expectations for this,” said Lamb. “My goal was to get to the second round but this is so much cooler!”

Idol Finals 095(L-R): Tyler Walls, Anna Howington, Kevin Raines, 2013 Idol Winner Drew Cavender, Michelle Lynch, Erin Lamb, Kevin R. Dunn, Hogansville DDA Chairperson Vickie Brown 

Jenny Cheeves of Franklin continued to wow the judges in round three and four as did 2012 People’s Choice Winner Lance Mapp of Newnan. Mapp and Cheeves were the other two finalists.

“I think the event was awesome. I think Drew is awesome — he is a great little kid,” said Cheeves. “I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great and wonderful people.” Cheeves, the president of the Heard Elemantary PTO,  performed “Wind Beneath My Wings” during the final round. 

The three judges for the competition included head judge Kevin Raines, owner of the Nivek Co. Talent and Modeling Studio, Christian recording artist and songwriter Kevin R. Dunn, and Michelle Lynch, owner of Poshe Productions, a full service entertainment company. Raines was impressed by the talent this year.

“That was some very good talent this year, especially the top 16 really brought it tonight. They really brought their game. I think we were pretty selective in the top four and I think it was a very difficult choice but I think we did well and I think the final performance is what nailed it for us,” said Raines.

“I think the final performance is basically what we judged it on — because we had critiqued enough — and basically it was just the final performance. It was really more of the moment than it was versus talent.”  

An estimated 300-350 packed into the amphitheater for the last night, many more than the first two weeks which were hampered by rain showers.

Masters of Ceremony Anna Howington and Tyler Walls (2011 West Georgia Idol Winner) also performed Saturday night as did 2012 winner Eddie Davenport.

Hogansville Downtown Development Authority Chairperson and competition organizer Vickie Brown was pleased with this year’s competition. “I want to thank all of the volunteers that helped us put this DDA event together,” said Brown. “It has been a huge success and we have had a fantastic year. All four years have been wonderful.”

The other 12 finalists competing Saturday night included: Jeanna Pugh, Elodie Edjang, Anna Maddox, Bernard Williams, Kelsey Buchholtz, Karen Chipman, Hope Kjar, Cody Elmore, Michael Strickland, Jordan Wray, Jasmine Ross, and Katherine Daniel.

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