This is a question junior music technology major Elizabeth Elliott asked herself as she competed against professional opera singers in the Macaroni Grill Opera Sing Off.
Elliott, who goes by Libby, has been singing classically for six years. But classical music didn’t become a passion until she started working at Macaroni Grill.
“They needed an opera singer,” Elliott said, “so I started singing for the restaurant for people’s birthdays and anniversaries.”
Elliott’s job at Macaroni Grill led to her entry in the Macaroni Grill Opera Sing Off, a contest the restaurant held to help bring the art of singing back into their restaurants.
Contestants upload videos of themselves singing to compete against each other in an online voting system.
“I’m contestant 448, but there’s hundreds of contestants,” Elliott said. “I didn’t think I had a shot at winning, since I’m not a full-time employee, but I decided to just try and get votes anyways.”
Elliott finished the competition in fourth place.
Elliott was shocked and encouraged that most ORU students were willing to stand behind her and help hoist her further in the competition.
“I’ve just been amazed at how many random people I don’t even know have been helping me. Dr. Rutland even announced it in chapel for me. My friend helped me make a video on YouTube, [and] all my friends have been filling out cards and handing them out.”
The online voting ended Feb. 3. When the votes were tallied, Elliott finished at fourth in the nation and fourth in her region.
“They pick two people from each region, so six people get to go compete in the final competition for $25,000,” Elliott said. “All the people in the top five are from the same region. It’s such a bummer.”
Though Elliott was disappointed to lose, she still prides herself on her accomplishments within the competition.
“I’ve already won a $250 area prize, and if there’s any real reward,” Elliott said, “It’s that I’ve put myself out there.”
The contestants who placed above Elliott are all full-time professionals, while she is a part-timer.
“Sometimes I have to just step back,” Elliott said. “I get mad that I’m not in first place, but at the same time I’m fourth in the nation and that’s still really good.”
If Elliott had moved on to the final round, her singing abilities would have been judged in front of a panel of professional opera singing judges. This opportunity would have granted her an all-expenses-paid trip to Dallas and a $1,000 cash prize.
Though unfortunately this was not the case, Elliott was still thrilled of her accomplishments and is grateful to the ORU student body for their support.
“This whole process has been so humbling,” Elliott said. “I want to meet everyone who voted for me that I don’t know.”