The boys were conspicuously absent Saturday night at the Smyrna Opera House during the finale of "Smyrna's Got Voice-Kids Rock!" All seven contestants across two age divisions were girls. And, of those seven, four were there representing the talent pool of MOT, using their time on stage to wow the attending crowd with vocal range and stage presence.
And, wowing the crowd was important as the audience collectively held the fate of the final two winners in the palm of their hands. In exchange for a ticket stub, each spectator was given a slip of paper with detailed voting instructions: Pick three of the four girls in the first group, which included the four girls in the younger division. Pick two of the three girls in the older division.
The younger girls included Alexandra Cseke, Sydney Wilson, Katie Loftus and Jaden McGeoch,
McGeoch, who utilized the whole stage, moving and dancing as she sang, went home as the winner of her division, following a breezy performance of Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On." The judges lauded her performance as "sultry and lilting," while also saying that her effortless stage presence and sass was perfect for the song she chose.
"I heard this song on 'The Voice' and I just loved it," said McGeoch, explaining how she chose her song. "The performers were magnificent and I really liked the song."
The other three girls in her division may not have brought home the trophy but they managed to impress the audience and the judges just the same. Sydney Wilson was the first Middletown resident to grace the stage, singing Jordan Spark's "This is My Now" with what the judges referred to as a "sweet voice."
Katie Loftus bravely tackled Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," dedicating it to her great-grand-father who died last week at the age of 98.
"I really like the melody and the meaning," said Loftus, explaining why she chose the song. The judges thought both melody and meaning suited Loftus well, telling her that they love the character she brought to the song.
The three older girls included Lauren Berry, Gracie Buskirk and Smyrna resident Chrystina Haldeman. Buskirk won her division with her "last minute choice" of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," saying that Raitt was one of her mom's favorite singers and that she hoped she made both her mom and Raitt proud of her version that night.
Berry, the lone MOT representative of the older group, sang Martina McBride's "Broken Wing." The judges complimented her all-American look and sound, saying that the song was a great choice for the subtle twang she has when she sings.
Last year's winner Jessica Reynolds also made an appearance, coming back to entertain the crowd as the last of the votes were being tabulated. Reynolds sang three songs, reminding everyone how she walked away as the 2012 winner.
Page 2 of 2 - The program, which kicked off the first round of competition in February, was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Close to 30 kids auditioned and following the first round, six kids from each group advanced to round two. Those 12 hopefuls were then whittled down to the seven who competed Saturday night.