FREEHOLD – Winners have been crowned in the 11th Freehold Idol talent competition.
In Freehold Idol, contestants compete in one of three age groups: 10 to 15 years old; 16 to 22 years old; and 23 years old and over. A winner is selected from each age group.
The competition takes place each Wednesday night during the summer in the Monmouth County Hall of Records Plaza in downtown Freehold Borough.
The finals for the 16 to 22 age group and for the 23-and-over age group were held on Aug. 9. The finals for the 10 to 15 age group were held on Aug. 16.
The winner in the 23-and-over age group was Timothy J. Mullin, 31, of Manalapan, who performed “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)” by Fall Out Boy to claim the title in his age group.
Mullin, who was a previous contestant in Freehold Idol, is a member of the hard rock band Spiral Scar and said he writes poetry, lyrics and melodies.
“Every time I compete, I try to take what I am told by the judges and fold it into my performances, both competitive and with my band,” Mullin wrote in his entry form for Freehold Idol. “Each year has given some aspect of myself and my performances that need improvement. Confidence, crowd control, use of stage and space. All of these have made me a better performer.”
The winner in the 16 to 22 age group was Nicolette Palombo, 19, of Delran, Burlington County, who performed “One Upon a Time” from the musical “All American.” A well-known version of the song was performed by Tony Bennett.
Palombo said she has performed in several musical theater productions and has won several awards, including a scholarship for the Rutgers High School Musical Theater Academy.
The winner in the 10 to 15 age group was Jason Colombini, 15, of Elmwood Park, Bergen County, who performed “Plush” by the Stone Temple Pilots as his winning song.
Jason, who is an aspiring studio musician, said he has played with singer/guitarist Joe Lynn Turner, bands Trixter and Starz, and members of the band Quiet Riot. He has opened for musicians Eric Martin and Mike Tramp, and the band Enuff Z’nuff.
During the preliminary phase of Freehold Idol, contestants sing for the judges with the goal of obtaining the highest score in their age group on the night they compete so they may advance to the finals.
The judges of the Freehold Idol competition are Stephen Rubino, Lee Ottman, Jo Wymer and Guy Daniel. In the finals, contestants sing for the judges in a bid to earn the highest score in their age group and be crowned the winners.
Each winner received a cash prize of $500 and gift certificates from local businesses. They will each receive two hours of recording time, plus pre- and post-production engineering services at City Lights Recording Studio, Howell.
“On behalf of Downtown Freehold, we would like to applaud all of the contestants who came out to Freehold Idol,” said Dru-Anne Palamia, Downtown Freehold’s events and marketing director. “You are all amazing. You showed us that we have so many talented people in the tri-state area. Congratulations to Jason, Nicolette and Timothy for achieving their dream of winning this award. May you continue on the road of success in your chosen fields.
“Freehold Idol is a team and we would like to thank our board, sponsors, staff and volunteers Linda Fasico, Steve Frencer (sound man) and Beverely Bressler (photographer) for all of their efforts in making this another successful year,” she said. “We look forward to seeing everyone next year.”
“We are excited that our winners will receive recording time at City Lights Recording Studio, $500 in cash and gift certificates to local establishments including Kohinoor Grill, Court Jester, Metropolitan Café, JEMM Optical and others,” said Jeffrey Friedman, Downtown Freehold’s business advocate.
“We particularly would like to thank our Freehold Idol sponsors iPlay America and City Light Recording Studio for supporting DowntownFreehold.com and our community events.
“We are grateful to all our downtown businesses who also support our efforts to make Downtown Freehold a destination to shop, dine, discover, and explore,” he said.