By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
At 7 p.m. Friday, 25 country music artists will converge on James Maskus Auditorium to compete for the title of Liberal High School Booster Club Country Showdown winner. Contestants will not only be vying for the winning title, but a chance to open up for rising country music star and Liberal native Jerrod Niemann.
KSCB 102.7 The Legend’s Joe Denoyer said 40 artists were cut down to 25 for the third annual LHS Country Showdown.
“We started with 40 this year,” Denoyer said. “They, basically, submitted their preliminary songs. An independent panel of three judges listened to all the entries. They then narrowed it down to 25 performers.”
Following the notification of the 25 finalists, Denoyer said they will be expected to submit two songs which they will be performing during Friday evening’s LHS Country Showdown.
“They will submit their two contest songs, one for round one and one for round two,” he said. “If there are any conflicts – two people singing the same song – we will try to resolve those. But, if contestants that have the same songs refuse to change, then we will let them perform the same song – it is up to them.”
Friday evening, all contestants will be ready to perform, but only one will be crowned the winner and open for Niemann on Saturday evening.
“They will show up Friday night at 5:30 and will draw for a position,” Denoyer said. “Last year’s winner, Chelsea Beck, will open the show and then we will roll with the 25 contestants.”
Although all performers will be judged, 50 percent of total points come from audience participation, Denoyer said. Then the top 10 will compete in round two.
“The audience will vote for their favorite contestant,” he said. “We will take the audience total and combine them with the three judges – audience is 50 percent and judges count for 50 percent. We will combine those totals and narrow it down to the top 10. The top 10 will come back and sing their second song. Then we will announce the winners that night.”
Each paid entry of $5 will receive a paper ballot, Denoyer said. However, he added, more options to vote can be purchased by those in attendance.
“With each paid entry, they get one vote per round,” he said. “And since it is a fundraiser, if they want to buy more than one entry, they can vote that many times. Every paid entry gets a vote – whether it is an adult or a child.”
Denoyer said there was a nice range of local artists. The farthest distance represented, he said, was Aurora, Colo.
“We have a pretty good mix of the area,” he said. “We have some people that have been in it before, we have some new artists as well. So, it will be a new, fresh show. Just come on out and enjoy the show. It will be fun, and be sure to vote for your favorite contestant.”