The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Lee DeWyze adds glam to seventh HIT Idol event


November 6, 2017

Submitted photo

THE SIX WINNERS of this year's HIT Idol competition are shown onstage at the Ironwood Theatre after the Saturday evening wrap-up with Lee DeWyze, Season 9 winner of "American Idol." From left, first row, are: DeWyze, Veronica Bolton, Breyanna Schutte, and Kristine Mieloszyk and second row: Emily Dennis, Haley Mead and Dustin King.


Ironwood - Hundreds of people filled the Historic Ironwood Theatre Saturday as finalists of this year's HIT Idol competition entertained the crowd before and after learning who the six winners were.

Adding to the fun was the participation of Lee DeWyze, Season 9 winner of "American Idol," who performed with the contestants and also gave a concert of his own.

Winners of the 2017 event were as follows:

-Young Adult Category: Veronica Bolton and Kristine Mieloszyk, both of Ironwood;

-High School Category: Dustin King of Ewen-Trout Creek and Breyanna Schutte of Ashland; and

-Youth Category: Emily Dennis and Haley Mead, both of Hurley.

Twenty-nine total contestants had performed at the theatre on Friday night, which was Part 1 of the two-night event, and the winners gave an encore performance Saturday night's show.

The finalists also performed group numbers with six of the eight 2016 winners (two of the 2016 winners were unable to attend), and the six 2016 winners also entertained as a separate group.

Emcee Mark Silver ran Saturday evening's show, which was a colorful collection of youthful energy and melodic talent; including the harmonic, opening performance of the song "Proud," by Peter John Vettese and Heather Small, which began with the group of youth walking down theatre aisles, clapping and singing as they then proceeded onstage to finish the number.

During his personal concert, which occurred after the intermission at Saturday's event, DeWyze played a number of his own songs, including some from his latest album, "Oil and Water," which was released in 2016.

He also sang a cover of "Father and Son" by Cat Stevens, from whom DeWyze said he learned that songs can tell stories.

He showed great rapport with HIT Idol participants, whom he commended for their "amazing" talent, and he also interacted easily with the audience.

DeWyze, who now lives in Los Angeles, Cal., grew up in Mount Prospect, Ill., and received cheers when he said, "I used to go fishing and camping every year in the Porcupine Mountains."

He drew laughs when he added, "I'm amazed at how many people are surprised that I can say 'Gogebic' right."

DeWyze, who said he never took lessons in singing or guitar, but instead taught himself along the way, was polite in ending each of his songs with "Thank you so much."

DeWyze commended the professional expertise of show directors Annette Burchell and Janie Williams, as well as their support team, which included administrators Bruce Greenhill, who manages the theatre and Karen Hagemann.

More than 70 volunteers also made this year's two-night event possible.

DeWyze concluded the night by saying, "It has been an absolute pleasure to be here."

Judges for this year's competition were Tom Draughon, Ryan Shadbolt, Laurie Timm, Cheryl Leah and Ed Willett.

The Ironwood Area Business and Professional Women helped to support the Season 7 HIT Idol, which also was funded in part from a grant from the Gogebic Range Health Foundation.


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