When Megan McPherson, 16, of Mount Airy first heard her name called as the 2012 “South Carroll Idol” on Saturday, it took a second for her to believe it.
“I was basically watching [the announcers’] lips [and] when he said my name, I was like ‘What was that? Can you repeat that again. ...’ I was completely speechless. My first thought was, ‘Oh my God, how did I do this?’” she said.
Megan, a junior at South Carroll High School, beat out about two dozen students to win the school singing competition.
She sang “Hallelujah,” as performed by Rufus Wainwright and “Titanium,” originally written and performed by David Guetta and Sia, to a packed auditorium of about 200 during the final competition at the school Saturday.
“It was kind of nerve-racking,” Megan said of performing. “The audience cheered so loud when I sang [“Hallelujah”]. It was like a roar, it kind of scared me a bit.”
The annual competition — which follows the format of the popular Fox television show “American Idol” — also raises money for school expenses.
This year, the proceeds from the $8 admission fee will go to help with prom costs and future class reunions, said Caitlin Adolph, organizer of this year’s competition and an English teacher at the school. The total amount raised is still being counted.
The process to choose this year’s winner started in October, Adolph said.
About 20 students orignally auditioned for the chance to compete. The initial group was whittled down to 10 by a panel of three judges and then further narrowed during a blind vote among students.
The student body was then asked to vote the week of Nov. 12 for the six semifinalists after listening to 30-second sound bites prepared by each competitor.
This year’s semifinalists included Megan, Shannon Driskell, a junior; Lindsay Hoffman, a sophomore; Carling Witt, a freshman; Hannah Kelly, a senior; and Karleigh Hubble, a junior. All of the semi-finalists are from Mount Airy.
After performing at the final competition, the six where narrowed down to four by the judges, who included last year’s winner, Taylor Reiland. The audience made the final decision by placing their event tickets in bowls allocated for each singer.
“It was definitely not a popularity contest,” Adolph said. “The girls worked very hard. They’re all incredibly talented.”
Megan has been participating in choirs at school since she was in seventh grade and is currently a member of the Honors Vocal Ensemble at South Carroll. She also learned two weeks ago that she was selected to become a member of the Maryland Music Educators Association’s All-State Senior Choir, a group made up of high-school students statewide.
She will perform during a concert with the choir Feb. 24 at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
As for the high school competition, Megan said it was not only “so much fun” but helped her to build confidence in herself. She said she plans to keep the crown she received from the contest on her dresser in her room to remind her of that fact.
“So I can wake up and see it every morning,” she said. “It’s a reminder that I can accomplish my dreams and that I have what it takes.”