SOUTH FORT MYERS — They sang their hearts out.
Twenty-six contestants from all over South Florida performed at the Sandy Parrot on Monday for a shot at ABC’s Karaoke Battle USA.
Competitors selected their own songs from all genres, ranging from “Mustang Sally” to “That’s Amore”.
Most were regular local karaoke performers.
Others were just plain passionate about singing.
Danielle Hollobaugh, 23, traveled from Bradenton for the competition. She sang “Anyway” by Martina McBride and has performed in front of an audience since she was six years old.
“Singing is my absolute dream,” said Hollobaugh.
Contestants also included a mother and son, and even close karaoke friends.
For his part Bonita Springs resident Louis Crowley, 29, said that he started singing in church with his mother. She also forced him to play piano.
“My wife’s running late so I dressed myself tonight,” said Louis before his performance. He wore black boots, a long leather jacket, a bold cross necklace and eyeliner.
He sang, “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi.
Meanwhile Louis’ mother Terri Crowley, performed “Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts after him.
She said she believes she had an influence in his singing talents.
“That’s why he’s singing Bon Jovi instead of Cee Lo,” said Terri Crowley.
The motherly music force paid off, because it was her son that forced Terri to perform in the competition.
“Louis roped me into doing this, so here I am,” she said Terri.
Naples resident Katy Schirard, 20, won in one of the early rounds of the local Southwest Florida female finalist competition a few weeks back. She belted out “Lady Marmalade” by Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Lil’ Kim, including the rapping portion.
“I’ve been doing karaoke to loosen up and get comfortable,” said Schirard who goes karaoke with friends about three times a week.
One of the friends she does karaoke with is 20-year-old Philip Allen, who went to Gulf Coast High School with Schirard.
“I did plays in high school then went to an arts school in Manhattan,” said Allen. “I do a mean ‘Proud Mary’, Tina Turner version.”
Although he couldn’t sing the Turner classic it since it was over the five-minute length limit, Allen instead sang “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
It was that charismatic performance that won him first place in the male competition for South Florida.
Fort Myers resident Corey Johnson, 26, won second for South Florida male finalist. He performed “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan, and dedicated the song to fallen soldiers.
“I’m shocked because the level of talent here in this area is amazing,” said Johnson.
First place for South Florida female finalist was 29-year-old Tessa O’Gilvie, also a Fort Myers resident.
Her fearless performance of “Listen” by Beyonce won the judges over.
Sarasota resident Shantel Norman, 25, won second place for female South Florida finalist with her performance of “No more Drama” by Mary J. Blige.
“I’m very shocked but I’m happy, I like to tell a story with the songs that I do,” said Norman.
The top four finalists from the Spotlight Entertainment of Southwest Florida hosted event, now advance to the East Coast Finalists competition to be held in New York City in July.
The finalists of that competition will be featured on the ABC reality show, slated to air on Monday nights in August.