And the winner is… AJ Holden!

By Daniel Morgan, Advertising Manager

AJ Holden was named 2016’s West Lib Idol at the final night of competition on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016.

The last round of West Lib Idol took place at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom at West Liberty University, and the audience voted for the winner on West Lib Idol’s Twitter poll.

Each of the final four singers performed two songs: one associated with a dead artist and another song of their choice.

Brooke Dorsey, who finished in fourth place, chose “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong as her first song. She did very well, but she brought the house down with her energetic performance of Sara Evans’ “Suds in the Bucket.”

Zarek Wiley came in third place, and he was the winner of the Instagram contest that brought him back into the final competition. He started out strong with Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Over the Rainbow.” Then, he had his “helpers” distribute red solo cups to everyone in the audience, and encouraged them to do the routine as he sang “Cups” by Anna Kendrick. He did great, and the crowd really got into it.

Hannah Walters came in second place. She warmed up with “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” by Mama Cass, and performed “She Will Be Loved” as a nice duet with 2015’s West Lib Idol, Morgan Wagner. 

Holden, our new West Lib Idol, started out a with a lovely version of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” with CJ Coakley accompanying him on guitar. He chose “When We Were Young” by Adele as his second song, and he dedicated it to his mother.

Holden’s previous performances of the competition include “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin,” “Beauty School Dropout” from “Grease,” and “Knee Deep” by the Zac Brown Band.

The four judges of the final nights included Coordinator for Staff Development and Housing Operations Chris McPherson, Associate Professor of Education Dr. Traci Tuttle, Executive Director of Housing & Student Life Marcella Snyder, and Dr. Stephen Greiner, WLU President. Throughout the night, McPherson gave Chipotle gift cards to those who answered his dead artist trivia questions on Twitter, and past Idol Wagner sang Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” halfway through the performances.

West Lib Idol was hosted by emcees Kevin Powell and Noah Woods of the Housing and Student Life Staff during the competition.

“It’s been a blast,” Powell said. “It’s been four weeks of sweat and tears, and it’s been a lot of fun. I’d just like to thank the housing office and Noah Woods for hosting with me. I hope to do it again next year.

“I’d just like to say how much I appreciate the people that are willing to go up and entertain others,” Woods said. “Thank you to the housing office for making the event possible, and thank you to the special guests who have helped judge along the way.”

West Lib Idol was run by WLU’s Office of Housing and Student Life. It started on Feb. 3 and continued weekly until Feb. 24. The contestants that were brave enough to compete this season include AJ Holden, Hannah Walters, Zarek Wiley, Brooke Dorsey, CJ Coakley, Luke Sadecky, Emily Chiles, Reid Boden, Jessica Crawford, Yijing Shen, Cody Waggoner, Rosie Brill, Bailee Dugan, Vonnie Sweeny, and Kyle Taylor.