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Fayette Idol contestants excited about opportunity

| Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, 12:31 a.m.
Lori C. Padilla | for the Daily Courier
Joshua Soltis, 16, of Dunbar plays his acoustic guitar and sings “Cruise” Wednesday night during the Fayette Idol 2013 competition at the Fayette County Fair. A junior at Connellsville Senior High School, he is the son of Beth and John Murphy. Idol finals are on Friday.

Brieanna Jordan sang “Jesus Take the Wheel” on Wednesday night during the Fayette Idol 2013 competition at the Fayette County Fair because the Carrie Underwood song reminds her to “Let Go and Let God.”

Jordan, a 17-year-old Connellsville native, said the song reminds her that she needs to turn her problems over to God.

For the past two years, Jordan has been living in a homeless shelter in Uniontown and taking public transportation to the Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center, where she will enter her senior year this fall.

Her father, Michael Jordan, died in September 2010 when brain seizures caused an aneurysm that took his life.

“My dad's death was very sudden and very unexpected,” Jordan said. “It was very hard for me. I had to go to the homeless shelter because my mother is incarcerated, and I had no one. I have a great-grandmother, but she is unable to take care of me.”

In spite of the overwhelming challenges she faces in her life, Jordan said she was very excited about the opportunity to participate in the competition.

“When I sing ‘Jesus Take the Wheel,' it reminds me of my dad and what happened to him and me,” she said. “The song reminds you life is out of your control. You have to let go and let God. I try to do that every day as much as I can. It makes your life a little easier when you realize that Jesus is behind the wheel.”

Jordan said she has been singing since she was 2 years old and couldn't wait to enter the competition.

“I've been singing since I was able to talk because it's a great way to express yourself,” she said.

After she graduates from high school, Jordan said she plans to enroll in nursing courses at Penn State Fayette and then transfer to the main campus at University Park, where she plans to become a pediatric nurse.

Joshua Soltis, 16, of Dunbar, a junior at Connellsville Senior High School, sang and played “Cruise” on his acoustic guitar. “Cruise” is by the Florida-Georgia Line, a country band.

Soltis, son of Beth and John Murphy, said he has been playing the guitar for the past two years.

“I wanted to enter the competition because I love playing guitar and singing,” he said. “This is actually the first time I ever performed for an audience.”

Mark Rafail of Kingfish Productions said this marks the third year for the Fayette Idol competition. Eight finalists from the teen category and eight from the adult category will advance to the final competition, which will take place 7 p.m. Friday in the Fiddler's Building.

The contestants were being judged on ability (talent), appearance, stage presence and overall assessment. Audience members also had an opportunity to participate in the judging by donating $1 bills for their favorite contestants, Rafail said.

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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