Martin wows the crowd to win KSF karaoke contest

-A A +A
By Stephen Thomas

 PIONEER VILLAGE - The new voice of Bullitt County comes in the form of a 12-year-old girl, according to Kentucky State Fair judges.

Emma Denise Martin was selected as the winner of the "So You Think You Can Sing" karaoke competition, hosted annually in the Mike Linnig's tent at the fair. She earned top honors in the 12 and under age division.

The seventh grader at St. Athanasius Catholic School in Louisville earned $50 and two tickets to Kings Island Amusement Park, along with a ribbon and a trophy half her size.

Emma is the daughter of Steve and Michelle Fields Martin, and granddaughter of Rita and the late Tom Martin, as well as Carol and Joe Pfeiffer and the late John Davenport. She has a brother, Jacob, 21, and sister, Shelby, 19.

Steve said both of Emma's grandfathers enjoyed singing. He mentioned that Emma participated with a singing group at Okolona Christian Church.

Emma earned a victory in the qualifying round, beating nine singers with her version of the 1963 number one song, "My Boyfriend's Back," by The Angels.

In the finals, with 10 competitors, Emma wooed the judges with a version of the Petula Clark song, "Downtown," a number one song from 1964.

The songs were selected to fit Emma's singing style by her voice instructor, Angie Moth.

"Angie tried to pick something age-appropriate, plus something in Emma's range, plus something no one else would sing," Steve said. "We've heard girls perform the same song before."

This was Emma's third year in the contest. She has placed each year.

"I think I've improved," she said. "I think I won because of the song selection, and I was less nervous, and I did dance moves."

Winners were selected based on the criteria of four judges along with audience participation and response. Emma thanked family and friends who showed up in support of her performance.

Emma has earned a bit more experience in recent years, performing at the Gaslight Festival in Jeffersontown and the Mount Washington Opry.

"It's weird to sing in front of small groups," Emma said. "But in front of a big group I'm fine."

Emma doesn't quite fill the role of a true diva as of yet. She enjoys attending school, participating in volleyball, baseball, basketball and cheerleading. She said she would like attend high school at Mercy Academy.

The 2013 "So You Think You Can Sing" winner hopes to continue earning public singing experience. She plans to find opportunities where she can perform while waiting for a shot at future Mike Linnig's contests against older competitors.