On Thursday June 16, WGNA hosted the final round of the Country Idol Karaoke Show at Vapor in Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Taped for LOOK-TV, the 20 contestants, out of the over 100 that auditioned, performed in front of a panel of four judges to win $5,000 and a performance spot on the Center For Disability Services Telethon.

Judges Scott Blaine (WGNA), Stacey Morris (Saratogian), Jesse Jackson (LOOK-TV) and Jay Yager (Audtiostars) scored on appearance, stage presence and vocals to narrow the field down to the top five.

Loreal Lavigna, Brandie Alexander, Faith Van DeMark, Lauren Kerr, and Bobby Kendall ranked the highest and were invited to sing one more song in the final round.  After a stunning show of talent and enthusiastic crowd reaction, the auditor added up the numbers and the winner was Bobby Kendall's performance of 'Love Like Crazy.'  In a close race, Kendall edged out Lauren Kerr's knock-out performance of 'Independence Day' by just seven points.

There were two big surprises with the judges decision. First, it appeared that a woman was going to win, based on the judges' comments throughout the night. After all, the women dominated the finals, with only six men making the top 20.  Not to mention, some stellar female powerhouse performances that emulated the strong vocals of Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood, seemed to give the females the advantage of better song choices. If one looked at the song selections available, the males didn't have the catalog of hits, that were equal to the songs that female artists can select to showcase the range of their vocals. Furthermore, throughout the entire series, judges frequently pointed out that with ten points available for appearance, contestants should 'dress up' and 'look the part' of a star.  The Country Idol winner was wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and a baseball cap. 

Who do you think should have won?  Did you agree with the judges choices?