Houlton woman wins $1,000 karaoke showdown

2 weeks ago

HOULTON, Maine — Houlton resident Danielle Lane captured the $1,000 Karaoke Showdown prize on Wednesday night at the Temple Theater in downtown Houlton.

“We’re going to Disney baby,” Lane called out into the crowd as she was awarded her prize. 

One of 12 contenders tasked with singing a song related to a movie, Lane’s rendition of “This is Me” from the film The Greatest Showman won her the prize as the audience clapped, cheered and whistled in support of her performance.

Laila Matthews, 15, of Smyrna Mills took the $500 second prize for her Florence and the Machine song, The Dog Days are Over, which was in the film Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3

The Temple Theater is one of the oldest continuously operating movie theaters in the state. When Fred Grant, president of Northern Maine Media Inc. and owner of Market Pizza in Houlton, purchased it last June, he said advancing technology makes live and live-streaming events possible there. 

And the sold-out Karaoke Showdown was the first of many live performances planned for the historic downtown theater.

Grant’s Northern Maine Media operates WHOU 100.1 FM radio and WHOU live-streaming. 

In the past year, Grant and his team brought in high-tech laser projection, a state-of-the art sound system, obtained a liquor license and upgraded the twin theaters 400-seat venue. There were 200 seats for the karaoke show.

A panel of judges including Maine Music Society Artistic Director Rick Nickerson of Windham, voice teacher Sharon Walker of Hodgdon and Chris Putnam, WHOU morning show deejay, as well as the audience, evaluated the performances.

Points were awarded based on several categories including the quality of the song, how well the performer knew the song, vocal range, the dynamics of their vocals, stage presence and how well they embodied the Hollywood theme.

“And they can get 10 points based on how well you cheer,” said emcee Kevin Melvin of WHOU 100.1 FM . “Are we ready to rock and roll?”

So started the competition with Carolyn Devoe’s version of Coal Miner’s Daughter, unleashing the supportive and rowdy crowd of 200. 

The showdown talent came from all over Maine and Canada and included audience favorites such as Johanna Johnston and Nick Foster of Houlton with their version of Suddenly Seymour from cult fave Little Shop of Horrors, The Martin Brothers (Macauley and Micah) from Belleville, New Brunswick, with their rocking Smokey and the Bandit song, Eastbound and Down.

Silas Goodwin, 9, of Houlton, singing a Post Malone song, Sunflower, told emcee Melvin that he thought he won the big prize. 

During the contestants’ performances, a camera projected their image onto the giant screen along with photos from the film. Visual elements and audience participation are a big part of karaoke’s popularity and Grant said that’s why it makes perfect sense for the contest to be held at the theater. 

“We have a fantastic sound system, a giant screen and a library of 80,000 songs to pull from,” theater owner Fred Grant said. “Our vision has always been to utilize the theater for a variety of live performances, and this competition is a perfect example of that.”

Throughout the evening, the theater served beer, wine, food and their world-famous popcorn. In between performances, Melvin gave away movie tickets and T-shirts. 

With all the performers back on the stage following judging, Melvin congratulated them and the audience for their lively participation. 

“One more time for all our contestants,” Melvin said, promising this was the first of more karaoke to come.