CRESTVIEW — From a field of 30 hopefuls, Crestview High School senior Michelle Bryan emerged as this year's Bulldog Idol, winning the annual music competition with her rendition of the Maroon 5 ballad "Sunday Morning."
The International Thespian Society’s Crestview High chapter produced the competition as a fundraiser to help members attend the statewide Thespian gathering in Tampa next month.
"We had a really good turnout for Bulldog Idol," Thespian adviser and school drama teacher Annette Gebhardt said. "We raised just over $1,100, which is wonderful!"
Michelle, a member of the school chorus and its Destiny show choir, has appeared in several musicals on the Pearl Tyner Auditorium stage, including "The Sound of Music," "The 21st Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and "Seussical, the Musical." Last fall she was chosen as the school's Homecoming queen.
For her audition the week before the Feb. 21 Idol show, Michelle sang the Amy Winehouse song "Valerie." That got her into the top 10. To break into the top five, where she joined Michael Brooks, Catherine Hanna, Evan Sammons and Atovic Johnson, she sang "Valerie" again before the enthusiastic audience.
Her performance of "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree," made famous by Scottish singer-songwriter K.T. Tunstall, propelled Michelle into the position of one of the top two finalists with Catherine Hanna. Her Maroon 5 tune turned out to be the contest's winner.
"I did not have a feeling I'd win this," Michelle said after the performance. "I was so excited. It was so awesome. This year, I've been so blessed."
Besides bragging rights as her alma mater's new Bulldog Idol, Michelle received another surprise while on the Pearl Tyner stage.
"I got asked to the prom right after I performed the second song," Michelle said. "It was a surprise. I said yes."
Last year's Bulldog Idol, Tyler Colonna, returned for an encore performance during the show, and Michelle will return during next year's competition, she promised.
First, members of the school's Thespian Society will head to Tampa for the March 20-23 state Thespian gathering at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to participating in theatrical competitions, the students will attend workshops and seminars in acting, set design, costume design, lighting, makeup, house management and other stagecraft skills.
Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.