On the first beautiful day at Stony Brook in quite some time, students gathered on the Staller Steps to take in the singing talents of the six finalists of Stony Brook Idol 2014. The students showed great support toward the soulful, sultry performance of “Give It To Me Right,” from Melanie Ellner. Ellner, a sophomore psychology major, wooed the audience with her faithful rendition of Melanie Fiona’s R&B number with great vocal range and powerful delivery. Her stirring performance came together successfully, as she won first place with the $300 Wolfie Wallet gift card grand prize and the opportunity to sing at both the SSK Closing Ceremony and Homecoming 2014.
Ellner stepped off stage to take an exclusive photo with Wolfie and spoke of her performance and her life-long love of singing. Ellner has been singing her entire life, with her earliest singing memory involving singing Britney Spears’ “Lucky” at a second grade talent show. As far as the selection of Melanie Fiona, Ellner is a big fan of hers.
“I’ve known about her for a while now and I wish she was more popular,” Ellner said.
Ellner also thought about performing “Stay” by Rihanna and Mikky Ekko, but “Stay” was too slow and she wanted something more fun for the audience to enjoy.
Ellner said she is guilt free with her music collection. She has plenty of experience with entertaining a crowd through upbeat tunes as a member of the Pipettes, Stony Brook’s all-female a capella group. Ellner has been a member since her freshman year. She joined to keep on singing through the hectic college life. She likes how the Pipettes cover everything from Roberta Flack to Katy Perry, while she herself prefers listening and singing to Adele and Amy Winehouse. Ellner’s refined singing talents are certainly helped by the six weekly hours of rehearsals the Pipettes go through.
The competition this year at SB Idol was certainly fierce. The show opened with Matt Pierre’s stripped down performance of Beyonce’s “Halo,” followed by Ellner’s performance. Tahseen Rabbi, a Statesman intern, took the stage with a spot-on cover of Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun” and won the People’s Choice award for the event. John Acosido took arena rock anthem “Use Somebody” and stripped it down to an R&B piano ballad, while Shannon Hurley performed Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances” on acoustic guitar. Sayaka Uoyama also performed “Who Knew” by P!nk. Ultimately, Ellner walked away with the judges’ votes of confidence for her powerful singing voice that grabbed the audience from the first verse.
Ellner said that she has another Pipettes concert and an a capella night coming up while she continues to get through classes. As far as the coming months, Ellner, like most students at Stony Brook, is just looking forward to finishing up the semester.