By Sam Benshoof | firstname.lastname@example.org
After 66 singers, several weeks of competition and tens of thousands of votes, we’re down to the end of this year’s Fargo Star competition.
The 10 finalists – nine women and one man, some past Fargo Star finalists, some newcomers, all ranging in age from 18 to 33 – are ready to go, eager to prove to you they’ve got what it takes.
On Saturday they finally get that chance to put it all on the line at the finals of The Forum’s annual singing competition. They’ll all sing live on stage along with backing band Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome.
There are prize packs for the Fargo Star winner as well as the two runners-up, and there’s also plenty of glory on the line too.
But before this year’s Fargo Star is named on Saturday, get to know each of the finalists a little bit better.
If you go
What: Fargo Star finals, featuring Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome and last year’s winner Taylor Wall
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, doors open at 5
Where: The Venue at The Hub, 2525 9th Ave. S., Fargo
Info: General admission tickets cost $10
Hometown: Marshall, Minn.
What he’ll be singing: “My Heart Will Go On,” by Celine Dion, which he chose to honor his recently-deceased grandmother.
“She was always there for me, supporting me in what I did,” Soupir says.
A sophomore at North Dakota State University, Soupir is studying music and business, and that’s what he wants to do after he graduates.
“I would like to do something in the music business, whether I’m topping charts or pounding on a 10-gallon pail for quarters,” he says.
Who would play him in a movie: Will Farrell, who Soupir says would best embody his sense of humor.
What she’ll be singing: “Fine By Me,” by Andy Grammar, which Wawers says is a catchy tune that she recently happened upon.
This was the first attempt at trying out for Fargo Star for Wawers, who is a first-year student at Concordia College studying elementary education.
She says she’s most excited to sing with Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome at Saturday night’s finals.
Who would play her in a movie: Given her red hair, Wawers had a little difficulty settling on an actress, but ultimately picked Jennifer Lawrence.
“I think she’s good at everything,” she says.
Hometown: Wahpeton, N.D.
What she’ll be singing: “Like My Mother Does,” by Lauren Alaina. Onchuck says the song is a little slower, but allows her the opportunity to really belt it out. It also has a country twang to it, which makes it right up Onchuck’s alley.
“I’m a farm girl, so I grew up with country,” she says.
Onchuck is a senior at Wahpeton High School, and next year she’ll be attending the University of North Dakota to study music therapy.
This was her first year trying out for Fargo Star.
Who would play her in a movie: Onchuck also picked Jennifer Lawrence, who she says just seems like a real person.
“I like how she’s just herself,” Onchuck says.
Hometown: Williston, N.D.
What she’ll be singing: “Retribution,” an original song that Black wrote a few weeks ago that she describes as a combination of Kelly Clarkson and “funk jazz.”
“It has a lot of opportunities for belting,” Black says.
Black is a senior at NDSU studying piano, and next year she’ll attend McNally Smith School of Music in Minneapolis for music composition.
This was her first year auditioning for Fargo Star.
Who would play her in a movie: Zooey Deschanel; “She’s musical, and I love her style,” Black says. “She embodies classiness and awkwardness.”
Hometown: Napoleon, N.D.
What she’ll be singing: “King of Anything,” by Sara Bareilles, which Michels chose because she’s a fan of “very soulful sounding voices.”
“I wanted a soulful, upbeat song,” she says.
Michels, a technology consultant at Eide Bailly in Fargo, tried out for Fargo Star for the first time this year.
“I am absolutely excited to play with a band,” she says. “I’ve never done it before.”
Who would play her in a movie: Reese Witherspoon; “She’s smart, and I’m naturally blonde, like her,” Michels says.
Hometown: Foxhome, Minn.
What she’ll be singing: “The Warrior,” by Scandal.
Hought, a good friend of last year’s winner, Taylor Wall, grew up listening to 1980s rock bands with strong female singers, but that’s not all she likes.
“I dabbled in opera a bit,” she says, laughing.
Hought is a senior at Breckenridge High School. This was her first year auditioning for Fargo Star.
Who would play her in a movie: Hilary Duff, “but only back in her younger years,” Hought says. “She’s quirky, like me.”
Hometown: West Fargo
What she’ll be singing: “I’ve Got the Music in Me” by Thelma Houston, which Palanuk thought would sound good with the backing band.
This was Palanuk’s second year trying out for Fargo Star. She made the finals last year as well, and is looking forward to the experience of singing on stage again.
“That’s the reason I wanted to do it again,” she says. “It was so fun and exciting.”
Who would play her in a movie: Kristen Wiig, who Palanuk describes as funny, easygoing and low-maintenance, much like herself.
What she’ll be singing: “Runaway,” by Bruno Mars. Ashmore thought the song would work well with the brass sounds of Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome.
This is the second year in a row that Ashmore has made the Fargo Star finals, and this time she’s hoping to break through.
“It’ll be fun to be there again,” she says.
Who would play her in a movie: Jennifer Aniston; “She’s really pretty,” Ashmore says. “I love her character on ‘Friends.’”
Hometown: Cosgrove, N.D.
What she’ll be singing: “Blown Away,” by Carrie Underwood. Heimbuch thinks the song is recognizable, and she hopes it best suits her vocal abilities.
“I have that kind of voice – I sing country because that’s what my voice is suited for,” she says.
Heimbuch, a senior at NDSU studying retail merchandising and public relations/advertising, also made it to the Fargo Star finals last year.
Who would play her in a movie: Kristen Bell; Heimbuch thinks the “Veronica Mars” actress has a personality similar to hers.
What she’ll be singing: “How Great Thou Art,” by Carrie Underwood. Borgerding says her mother recommended the song for her to sing at the finals.
“She knows what I’m capable of, and she’s usually not wrong,” Borgerding says.
This isn’t Borgerding’s first time in the Fargo Star spotlight. She made the finals both in 2008 and during last year’s competition.
She’s the oldest finalist in this year’s bunch, and Borgerding admits that gives her a little motivation to succeed.
“I want to prove to myself that I still have it in me,” she says.
Who would play her in a movie: Reese Witherspoon; “I like her as an actress,” Borgerding says.