Music lovers braved the stormy weather Wednesday night and made their way to the to find out who would be named the 2012 Freehold Idol.
Over a 10 week span, many contestants showed three judges what they were made of with their own renditions of classic and popular songs, just like the hit Fox television show, American Idol.
Wednesday was the finale for two age groups; the 16 to 22-year-old group which had 11 participants and the 23 and older group, which had seven singers going for the title of 2012 Freehold Idol.
In the end there could only be one Freehold Idol for each age group. The title for the 16 to 22 age group went to Shannon Rakow, 20, of Jackson. She performed “Gimme Gimme” from the Broadway play Thoroughly Modern Millie.
“I loved you last week and I love you now,” said panel judge Steven Rubino after Rakow’s performance. “You did a fantastic job and you mesmerized the audience.”
For the 23 and older age group, Joanna Burns, 28, of Hazlet, earned first place with her performance of “Here's Where I Stand” from the movie musical Camp.
Judge Neal Girandola commented on Burns’ performance by saying “You need to bring it in the finale and you did. You did a fabulous fabulous job, there is nothing else to say, you did great.”
Each Freehold Idol was all smiles when they learned of their new titles and received $500 and a microphone-shaped trophy.
“It feels really great to be named Freehold Idol,” said Burns. “I have never been in a performance contest before. I perform in front of audiences all the time but never in a competition, I was surprisingly very nervous.”
Rakow had a similar reaction to being named Freehold Idol.
“I am really shocked, I wasn’t expecting this, but I am really happy. I am a poor college student and $500 will go a long way for me.”
Second place and third place winners were also announced at the competition. Second place took home $250 and third place was awarded $100.
For the 16 to 22 age group second place went to Raphaela Gassanova, 16, of Marlboro, who sang Christina Aguilera’s “Bound to You” and third place went to Alexa Pantaleo, 17, of Freehold who performed Jordan Spark’s “I Who Have Nothing”.
For the 23 and older age group, Danielle Vitoroulis, 23, of Holmdel took home second place for her performance of “And I am Telling You” from the movie Dream Girls. Bill Gagliardi, 72, of Lakewood, was awarded third place after singing "Luck Be A Lady" by Frank Sinatra.
The finale for the 10 to 15 age group will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 22.