News-Sun photo by KATARA SIMMONS Mary Hazel Teope takes home a $2,000 check Saturday evening after winning the Heartland Idol competition at the YMCA in Sebring. Teope has won junior, teen and adult Heartland Idol.
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published: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Teope makes history with third Heartland Idol win
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Mary Hazel Teope thrilled Heartland Idol audience members when she made history Saturday night by winning the 2013 Heartland Idol contest.
Teope is the first ever Idol contest to win all three Idol divisions - junior, teen and adult - Heartland Idol founder Diana Walker confirmed.
Teope took the Junior Idol crown in 2005 and the Teen Idol crown in 2008; the young woman impressed judges for the third time Saturday and was named the overall Heartland Idol winner.
The talent-filled competition was a difficult one to judge with so many energetic performances by the final five contestants - Ashley Nicole Elder, Gary Johnson, Adam Meredith, Lindsey Sears, and Teope.
Idol veteran performers Elder and Sears were named second- and third-place winners, respectively. Johnson took fourth place and Meredith fifth place.
Competitors were given a double opportunity to impress judges with their singing abilities Saturday with a two-round finale.
Round 1 of the competition gave singers a bit of a challenge when they were given a song chosen by the Idol board members to perform at the competition. Idol contestants were given only eight days to prepare, practice and perform their selected song.
Teope's performance of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey's ballad "When You Believe" tested the 18-year-old's broad singing range.
Veteran judge Larry Moore called Teope's voice "angelic", giving the singer many kudos.
Jim Johnson was speechless.
"I've worked with a lot of professional singers. You have as good a voice control as anyone," Johnson said.
The second performance of the night was another ballad - Beyonce's "Listen". Teope is no stranger to belting out some of the bigger songs by the biggest performers around with ease. Though technical issues did arise, Teope's calm demeanor displayed her passion for performing. A standing ovation was given following both Teope's performances. Teope's friends and family members erupted with joy and excitement when the first place winner was revealed Saturday.
"I'm going to help my brother get to the Philippines to visit his girlfriend," Teope said, following emcee David Flowers question about what she would do if she won the prize money.
Teope was awarded $2,000 for her win. Elder took home $1,000 for second place and Sears was awarded $500 for third place.
Videos and photos from the Heartland Idol performers can be found on the Heartland Idol Facebook page.
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