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Century Idol celebrates 10th anniversary with talent showcase

Century Idol celebrates 10th anniversary with talent showcase
From left: Imani Jones, Danielle Garratt, Josh Samuel, Megan Austin and Karlie Yates, the contestants in this year's Century Idol, are shown. Century High School is having its 10th competition at 7 p.m. Saturday at the school's auditorium. (SUBMITTED PHOTO, Carroll County Times)

When Century High School held its first Idol singing competition one decade ago, Courtney Proudlock was a sophomore eager for the chance to perform on stage.

Today, Proudluck is a college graduate teaching at Sykesville Middle School.

So much has changed since Century High School debuted its Idol competition in 2004, but the mission remains the same.

When Century Idol returns for its 10th anniversary at 7 p.m. Saturday in the school's auditorium, it will continue to showcase some of the school's top singers while serving as a fundraiser. This year, Century Idol benefits Carroll Food Sunday and a Convoy of Hope program that builds schools for Kenyan orphans.

The singing competition open to Century High students is based on Fox's "American Idol," complete with judges and fan voting.

Century Idol has outlived many similar competitions that were also based on "American Idol." Talent competition formats have started mimicking other more recent reality shows.

For example, the City of Westminster is hosting Westminster's Got Talent at 7 p.m. Saturday at Winters Mill High School. The showcase is based on NBC's "America's Got Talent" hosted by Nick Cannon.

Century sticks with the Idol format because it's worked so well in the past, fine arts teacher Melissa Adelmann said.

"When Idol got started, the school was still new and we didn't really have a lot of signature shows in creation yet," she said. "We decided we really wanted to create a quality show to showcase the student talents."

Each year, Century holds open Idol auditions. Five students are chosen to perform with student and audience voting deciding the victor.

This year's competition features freshman Karlie Yates and juniors Danielle Garratt, Megan Austin, Josh Samuel and Imani Jones.

Four past Idol winners, Proudlock included, are returning to perform for the 10th anniversary show.

Proudlock won Century Idol as a senior in 2006 after performing Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel."

She attended McDaniel College in Westminster, sang in the gospel choir there and is currently teaching Spanish to middle school students. She occasionally sprinkles songs in her lesson plans.

"It always makes me feel good to know that I made the most out of my experience in high school," she said. "I tried to do everything I set my mind to."

Proudlock was active in the arts at Century, including chorus and drama. But not all students who audition are.

"It would always surprise [me] who would show up for the auditions," Adelmann said.

Century student Shawn Hogue tried out six years ago at the urging of his stepmother. He was timid back then and not active in the arts at Century.

"My confidence just wasn't there, and I doubted myself a lot," Hogue said. "I just didn't think I had what it took."

He performed Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," was energized by raucous cheers and wound up winning during his junior year. He became a bit of a local celebrity, getting recognized outside school for his performance.

He's returned for the 10th anniversary show to sing R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" and mentor Samuel, the lone male finalist.

The winner will receive a check for $100 and a two-hour recording session at Omega Studios in Rockville.

They will also join a list of nine past winners that are part of the Century Idol alumni.

"That was a neat way to end my senior year," Proudlock said.

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