Roy Waugh Opens for The Mid-America EMMY Awards / NATAS
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Roy Waugh is New Mexico's "Giant Star"
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DUKE CITY RESIDENT IS NEW MEXICO’S FIRST GIANT STAR
Roy Waugh’s mother back in Gillespie, Ill. has never heard him sing.
“I told her that if I made it into the finals I would sing her favorite song,” Waugh told the wildly enthusiastic, standing-room-only crowd at the 2003 State Fair’s Ford Pavilion Sunday (Sept. 7) evening before singing “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” the gospel song that would catapult him into the winner’s circle of the first-ever “New Mexico’s Giant Star” competition.
Waugh’s mother is deaf. “She can feel the vibrations from my voice,” he said. Midway through the performance, Waugh began “signing” the lyrics.
The four guest judges - Tony Lynn of Big I 107.9, Wendy Whitson of KRST’s Get Up Gang, Claudio Serrano of KLUZ-TV 41 and Leslie Granger of KRWN and other stations in Farmington - made Albuquerque resident Roy Waugh the consensus pick as “New Mexico’s Giant Star,” capping a five-week talent search that culminated with the top 20 finalists squaring off at the Ford Pavilion. Sponsors were Giant and Mustang Gasoline and Convenience Stores, the New Mexico Tourism Department (NMTD), the New Mexico State Fair, the New Mexico Broadcasters Association and the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau. Guest emcees were long-time television personality Nelson Martinez and Phil “The Bean” Sisneros of Disney Radio in Albuquerque.
Waugh, 32, who earns his living performing in churches throughout the country, along with Katherine Love, Hurricane 9 and Adam Alvarez, survived their first-round performance among five competitors and squared off in Sunday night’s finals.
Waugh had never considered a singing career while growing up in Illinois. He was a gymnast, with his heart set on the Olympics, when he was injured at work and confined to a wheel chair at age 21. “The doctor said I would spend the rest of my life in the wheelchair, but a nurse told me that God gave me my voice for a reason,” Waugh said following the competition. The nurse was right. He also no longer needs a wheel chair.
“There were so many good performers,” he added. “I am very excited. I don’t know whether to cry or jump up and down.”
“The talent level Sunday was unbelievable,” said Jon Henry, NMTD’s travel and marketing director. “The judges did a stunning job; any of the top 20 performers could have been named the winner. The audience was treated to some dazzling, highly entertaining performances.”
Since Aug. 9, judges selected - via preliminary “Singing Saturdays” at the Expo New Mexico Flea Market - 20 performers to send on to the finals.
NMTD Secretary Fred Peralta said “New Mexico’s Giant Star” gave New Mexicans of all ages “a chance to shine. We are grateful to Giant/Mustang and all the major contributors for their help in this new venue for the state’s talented performers.”
Waugh agreed. “I love what I do. The response tonight is affirmation that I am headed in the right direction.”
Mike Stauffer, Communications Director, New Mexico Tourism Department, 491 Old Santa Fe Trail Santa Fe, NM 87503 (505) 827-7379