‘University Idol’ will showcase local talent

By Brittney DeJaco | @KyKernel

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Move over Simon, Paula and Randy. There’s a new “Idol” in town.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and Delta Delta Delta sorority, in partnership with the AcoustiCats, the all-male a capella group on campus, have created “University Idol” to showcase the singing talents of the Lexington community and raise money for the Lexington Cancer Foundation.

LCF is an events-based nonprofit organization that raises funds throughout the year and sets up a grant program to improve cancer care. In 2012, LCF raised more than $200,000 in grants for 13 nonprofits in Kentucky.

Jeremy Lewis, the creator of the event, is the president of SAE and an active member of the AcoustiCats.

He said the idea came from a collaboration between the two and a desire to incorporate a wider audience on campus.

“We want to knock down the barrier of Greek organizations only working with other Greek organizations,” Lewis said. “I hope this event can be the pioneer innovator that can help us to do that.”

The event began with accepting audition tapes online from people in the Lexington community ranging from ages 14 to 24.

“Why are we always limiting our events to only college students? There’s no reason for it,” Lewis said.

He explained that the event could act as a recruiting tool for the high schoolers competing, allowing them to gain a college experience.

In addition, opening the event to more people will allow for more to be raised for the Lexington Cancer Foundation, Lewis said.

Emily Dicks, Tri Delta’s philanthropy chair, said the organizers have been working hard to promote the event—and not just on campus.

“We’ve been promoting at high schools, music festivals and throughout the community because we want this event to pull from everyone and not just one demographic,” Dicks said.

Auditions will be accepted until March 3.

Once the videos have been reviewed, eight finalists will be chosen to move forward in the competition.

The finalists will choose one song to perform for the live audience at the event. They will submit these songs to the event’s musical director, Bryan Carter.

Carter, who lives in New York, will tailor the track to the finalists’ vocal ranges and send back a personalized track.

The final three in the competition will each sing the Beatles song “Let It Be,” in honor of the Lexington Cancer Foundation.

The audience will vote to decide the winner, with the first- and second-place winners receiving a cash prize.

Kristi Martin, executive director at LCF, hopes that all in the community will embrace the event and that students will show their support.

“We are excited to have a unique opportunity to get the UK student body involved in this philanthropic experience and hope they leave knowing they made a difference in the lives of many,” Martin said.

Lewis said that LCF was chosen as the philanthropy because organizers wanted the money to support the Lexington area.

“As opposed to the money going nationally, it’s staying here in Lexington, in our community,” Lewis said.

“This is not a Greek event; it’s a community event.”

Despite the time-consuming and expensive preparation, Lewis hopes the event will have a future at UK.

“We expect it to grow every year and to continue to bridge the gap that is often forgotten in our Greek community,” Lewis said.

The event will be at the Singletary Center for the Arts on April 6.

Visit uksae.com/university-idol for more information.