La Verne Idol contestants advance to semifinals

Deonah Cendejas
Staff Writer

Morgan Auditorium was filled with excitement, applause and talent at Mu Phi Epsilon’s La Verne Idol semifinals on Wednesday.

Wesly Tan and Kat Simonelli started off the night with a mash-up of Taylor Swift’s “Style” and “Blank Space.”

“I have a lot of fraternity brothers performing,” said senior kinesiology major Mikie Jimenez. “It’s always a fun event to attend and it’s cool to see La Verne’s talent.”

La Verne students of all years and majors took the stage and performed hits by Sam Smith, Elvis, the Beatles and even original pieces of work.

Each performer had the opportunity to perform a solo or duet acappella, with the accompaniment of instruments or with a song track.

“I liked the individuality of all the singers,” said junior accounting major Anthony Nunez.

“Especially considering they had both acappella and singing with the music.”

Despite the excitement and love of the performers by the audience members, the judges were not as amused.

The panel of judges included last year’s La Verne Idol winner Mason Sustayta, founder of La Verne Idol Paolo Kespradit and voice professor Heather Normandie.

Their continuous comments of “no connection,” “no range” and “no energy” rang in the ears of almost each contestant.

“Your outfit rocks, but you didn’t,” Normandie said to contestant Araceli Aguirre after she took on “A Day to Remember.”

“The pitch was not as good as your moves,” Sustayta said to DeVonte Moore after he performed “No Diggity” without his partner who was unable to attend.

Despite the harsh constructive criticism made by the judges, each performer kept a positive attitude, and the audience is greatly anticipating finals.

Contestants advancing to finals include Nicole Miller, Ashley Valiente, Sarah Mayo and Chris Pulu.

“This year I said I was going to go for it and do my thing and I was not expecting this,” said senior sociology major and finalist Sarah Mayo. “What I took from this is being able to overcome my fears and take past experiences and learn from them.”

The La Verne Idol finals will take place at 10 p.m on April 15 in Morgan Auditorium.

Deonah Cendejas can be reached at

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