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Cynthiana's first 'Idol' named

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By Donald Richie

Cynthiana now has its first Idol.

Taylor Vallandingham came out on top Saturday in the finals of the first Cynthiana Idol competition held at Rohs Opera House.

Vallandingham wowed the judges and crowd with her rendition of "Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue."

She won a trophy, a cash prize and the opportunity to sing at several upcoming events.

"Based on her final performance, she should have won," said Rohs owner Roger Slade, who emceed the four-week event.

On Saturday, four finalists competed in two rounds, eliminating two, then one.

Starting on May 24, Slade said crowds for the shows continued to grow leading up to the finals. Saturday night saw over 200 people attend.

"It was really successful," he said. "It was huge."

Cynthiana Idol was a localized version of the popular Fox TV show, American Idol.

Originally there were 10 performers chosen by judges Laura Stephens, Michael Hughes and Allen Ball after early-May auditions.

The original competitors were Michelle Bittner, Susie Cannon, Marlena Crawford, Jenny Faulkner, siblings Heather Gardner and John Gardner, Kelly Grenier, Stephanie Stokes, Nikki Thomas and Vallandingham.

However, the first round saw one contestant drop out before competing and on the first week only one was eliminated.

The next two weeks, May 31 and June 7, saw two people sent home each week. That left the final four on Saturday: Faulkner, Grenier, Stokes and Vallandingham.

Vallandingham was chosen for the title by audience vote only, the judges had no say in the finals.

Slade said with the success of the first competition, there will likely be another. His best guess was that it may happen sometime around November.