More Gila Idol vets head to the finals

During the 2024 Gila Idol preliminary Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Manor 415, the judges selected Margarita Aguilar, left, Andy Davis and Lila Millar to advance to the finals. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — Add two more veterans to the list of singers who will perform at the 2024 Gila Idol Finals.

During Thursday’s preliminary at Manor 415, the judges selected Andy Davis, Margarita Aguilar and Lila Millar to sing at the 19th annual Gila Idol Finals March 28 at the David M. Player Center for the Arts.

Davis, who sang “Paint Me a Birmingham,” is making his fourth-straight finals appearance and sixth in nine years, despite being ill during Thursday’s preliminary.

“I just push myself to get the job done; take the right medicine, I guess it helps,” Davis said.

Andy Davis sang “Paint Me a Birmingham” Thursday, to earn his fourth straight appearance in the Gila Idol finals.
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Aguilar is also returning to the finals, having performed in 2022. After watching the other performers and her singing “Blue,” she said she wasn’t sure she’d be selected.

“I was kind of worried, because I thought there were a lot of good singers. So I was kind of worried,” Aguilar said.

Margarita Aguilar sang “Blue” to earn her spot in the 2024 Gila Idol Finals.
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Millar sang “Everything” and did something no other contest did before — read the lyrics from her phone.

“I got my song last night and so I was kind of like, ‘I just going to use the words and it’ll be OK if I make it.‘ I feel pretty confident I’ll be able to do it (sing from memory) in the finals.”

Lila Millar broke tradition and used her phone to read the lyrics while she sang “Everything” during Thursday’s preliminary at Manor 415.
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Three singers will get another chance at making the Finals, when they perform at call-back night at Trekasges Hall at the David M. Player Center for the Arts on March 14. They are Jordyn Lawson, who sang “How Far I’ll Go”; Brianna Pogue, who sang “Lost Boy”; and Sarah Bauman,” who sang “Before He Cheats.”

Judges selected, from left, Sarah Bauman, Brianna Pogue and Jordyn Lawson to sing again for a try at the finals during Call-Back Night March 14 at Trekasges Hall.
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

The judges also selected two alternates: Caddy Bigler, who sang “Bless the Broken Road”; and Maggie Brown, who sang “I try to Think About Elvis,” also using her phone following Millar’s performance. An alternate will be selected at each preliminary and, in the week before the finals, the public will vote on the performances on The top vote-getter will become a finalist.

Judges for Thursday’s Gila Idol preliminary at Manor 415 were, from left, 2008 Gila Idol winner Adam Crohn, 206 winner Brianna Morris and 2023 winner Zaylie Windsor.
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Judges were 2023 Gila Idol winner Zaylie Windsor, who opened the night with a performance of the song, “Gypsy”; 2016 winner Brianna Morris and 2008 winner Adam Crohn.

During the judges’ deliberations Tracy Brown, Thatcher High School’s director of Vocal Music, performed “The Wizard and I,” and the Thatcher High School Quintets performed a pair of songs.

Tracy Brown, vocal director for Thatcher High School, gave a special performance of the song “The Wizard and I” during the judges’ deliberations.
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central
Thatcher High School Quintets offered a pair of songs during a break in Thursday’s Gila Idol preliminary.
– Dan Curtis Photo/Gila Valley Central

All of Thursday’s performances can be viewed on the Gila Idol 2024 page at Gila Valley Central.

The next preliminary will take place Thursday, March 7, at 6:30 p.m. at OneAZ Credit Union in Safford.

Sponsors for 2024 Gila Idol include Valley Telecom Group; Richard’s Music Co.; Trophies ‘N Tees; Freeport-McMoRan; Mack’s NAPA Auto Parts; the Double R Bar and Grill; Valley Furniture and Appliance; Tyson Richins — Edward Jones Investments; the Graham County Chamber of Commerce; OneAZ Credit Union; Manor 415 Event Center; The Venue & Vignette on Main; Valley Vision; and the Double R Communications family of radio stations, Kat Kountry 94.5 FM, Sunny 102.3 FM and KATO 1230 AM.

2023 Gila Idol winner Zaylie Windsor opened Thursday’s preliminary with a performance of the song “Gypsy.”
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central