Cream of the crop: Shuswap Idol winners Carson Venne

Performers shine in Idol

Local talents got the chance to strut their musical stuff onstage in Shuswap Idol.

Local talents got the chance to strut their musical stuff onstage in Shuswap Idol.

The popular fall fair feature was won by Shelley Desautels, who received $500 and an hour-long vocal coaching session at In the Groove Studio. In second place was Lena Arkell, who took home $250 and a gift certificate from Dough Boyz, and third-place winner Elizabeth Joy received $125 and a Dough Boyz gift certificate.

Honourable mentions and $50 were awarded to Carson Venne, Laura Close, Megan Abel and Megan Lauridsen.

Organizer Lori Risling says Shuswap Idol contestants are scored up to 10 points on vocal ability and another five points each on stage presence and audience reaction for a total of 20 points.

Judges for the three-day competition included Dave Byers, Sharon Fitzsimonds and Roxy Roth.

“Roxy was so impressed with how they (contestants) developed over the weekend,” said Risling. “Everybody just nailed it on Sunday.”

Risling and husband Gil, who handles the technical side of the competition, will be back next year, even though running the contest involves a 12-hour drive from their Saskatchewan home.

“We’re going to put the singer songwriter award back into the mix,” says Risling, noting this year’s competition was so much easier to organize, with 12 contestants in one category instead of 20. “I love doing it. I think giving them a chance to sing on a big stage and watching them grow is pretty rewarding.”

Risling also arranges all the entertainment for the fair and says the list of performers has to be nailed down early for the fair schedule.

That works if everyone remains healthy and available.

But there were challenges this year.

Adam Fitzpatrick had to cancel his Elvis tribute show because he and his wife are expecting a baby anytime now.

Andrea Anderson had to leave Patsy Cline at home in Lake Country on Friday and Saturday because of laryngitis, but was well enough by Sunday.

“We asked Patrick  (Ryley) to do extra Hank Williams, and Betty Anne Northup of Dale Seaman and Highway 97 to step in for Andrea,” said Risling.

“She went home and learned four Patsy Cline songs and did an incredible job. She had never played with our guys before, but she slipped in like a real professional.”

Already planning for next year’s annual competition, Risling says anyone who is interested in taking part in Shuswap Idol can send her an email at

Auditions for the 2016 version of Shuswap Idol will take place the week following the Roots and Blues Festival.



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