Four women between the ages of 16 and 21 survived the first preliminary round of the Lebanon Idol competition Saturday afternoon at the Lebanon Valley Mall.
Thirteen contestants were given one minute to perform a song of their choice on the mall's Fountain Stage. About 100 people were in the audience.
Judges Brian Klinger and husband-and-wife Johnathan and Laura Shuey picked the following four performers to advance to the finals on Saturday, May 9 — Chantel Weiant, 21, of Lebanon; Kayla Lilly, 16, of Quarryville and a student at Milton Hershey School; Haley Goodling, 18, of Manheim; and Macey Saphore, 17, of Fredericksburg.
The rest of the slots in the finals will be filled during preliminary rounds on April 18 and April 25.
The songs chosen by Saturday's four winners were performed a cappella and represented a diverse mix:
• Weiant went all the way back to 1973 to perform "Killing Me Softly with His Song," which won a Grammy for Roberta Flack.
• Lilly sang "Listen" by Beyonce.
• Goodling belted out "Go On and Cry" by Diana DeGarmo.
• Saphore played acoustic guitar and sang "Proof" by the band Paramore.
Saphore is a student at Northern Lebanon High School and no stranger to the stage: She has been a regular in the school's musicals and has performed during recitals. She has been playing the guitar since eighth grade.
She said she chose the Paramore song because "I love them."
"I was a little nervous, but I just went with a song that I know well and I've been practicing," she said.
Saphore said she was uncertain which two songs she'll do during the May 9 finals.
Goodling, a senior at Manheim Central High School, was competing in Lebanon Idol for the first time. A veteran of her high school's musicals, Goodling said, "I've been performing since I was in seventh grade."
Goodling was the seventh person to take the stage and admitted to some nervous butterflies while watching the singers before her.
"After seeing some of the talent, I was like, 'Oh, man!' I was a little shaky," she said. "Once I start singing I always feel better. I try to stay calm. It wasn't too bad."
Goodling was asked how she would feel is she captured the Idol crown next month.
"It would be amazing," she said. "I just love performing. Just the fact that I get to perform again is pretty amazing."
Lilly, the youngest of Saturday's finalists, explained her choice of the Beyonce hit "Listen."
"I'm not a huge Beyonce fan, but I like her. Who's not a Beyonce fan?" she said. "My mom said I project well with that song, and I did that song in my last talent show (at Milton Hershey School). I think that's the most challenging song I've done. But I plan to do more challenging songs."
Speaking confidently afterwards, Lilly said she was not nervous before going on stage. "I was excited, though," she said.
Lilly has a strong stage resume: She's currently in "West Side Story" at Milton Hershey School, where she's also been in the varsity choir, gospel choir and praise band. She's also been a member of the highly regarded Susquehanna Youth Chorale.
She might bring back "Listen" for the finals, when performers do two songs.
"I'm definitely gonna think about it," she said. "I'm probably gonna do this one, and then I've got another song in mind."
Weiant, meanwhile, explained her decision to sing the 1970's soul classic "Killing Me Softly with His Song" over a current hit.
"I wanted to pick a song that the judges would be familiar with, and I also wanted to pick something that would fit my voice," she said. "I'm not very mainstream (with music)."
Weiant said she had a lot of butterflies in her stomach before the competition, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for her.
"I was very nervous. I'm always nervous," she said. "I always practice beforehand, obviously, and I think I sound awful. But then I get up there, and it sounds all right."
Weiant said she wasn't sure what songs she'll perform in the finals.
"I'll test some different things this week and go from there," she said.
For the next two rounds April 18 and April 25, contestants can sign up on the day of the event, prior to noon.