Exit Interviews with Jonathan Estes: Shantel Buchner and Jimmy Deaton


Judging on crowd response, two of Season Three’s most popular contestants were Shantel Buchner and Jimmy Deaton.  Shantel received one of the only standing ovations ever given on the Spotlight stage when she sang “Someone Like You.”  Jimmy brought the house down when he covered “The Hanging Tree,” from the Hunger Games Book Trilogy and movie series.  While many thought they were headed for the Top Three, they fell short and were eliminated on March 31st.  Recently I spoke with them both about their Spotlight Experience. 

Jonathan:  How was your experience in Spotlight and which performance was your favorite?

Shantel:  I have had a lot of fun doing Spotlight! It has been challenging, but so rewarding and I have improved in a lot of ways. I think my favorite performance was “Someone Like You” by Adele just because the song fit my voice well and the crowds’ reaction was very encouraging! It was my first Spotlight solo, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it ended up being one of my favorite songs to sing.

Jimmy:  I enjoyed my experience with spotlight.  It really challenged me as a singer and I met some awesome people along the way.  However, it was also really stressful.  Getting up on stage to sing in front of your peers can be really gut-wrenching.  My favorite performance was either duets week or royalty night when I sang “Burning Love.”  I love playing music and singing with other people so Duets Night was a lot of fun.  Also, before Royalty Night, I had never sung without also playing an instrument.  Even though, I was really nervous, it was somewhat liberating to not have to worry about playing and singing at the same time.  It was also pretty fun to get to dance around on stage.

Jonathan:  What was the hardest thing to overcome about Spotlight?

Shantel:  It was difficult to find time to practice especially when I had more than one person playing an instrument.  Some weeks we only had one week to get everything together and memorize all of the lyrics.

Jimmy:  The hardest thing to overcome during Spotlight was definitely the nerves. I’ve been on stage playing music since I was 13 but singing was never really my strong suit. However, with the demands of learning and perfecting a new song every other week for Spotlight, I gained confidence and really grew as a singer.

Jonathan:  What were your strategies in picking your songs?

Shantel:  I didn’t have one particular strategy for picking songs because every theme was so different! I did try to pick songs that I at least knew the chorus of so that I would be more confident on stage. Also, most weeks I tried to sing songs that people would be familiar with and be more likely to participate in.​

Jimmy:  My strategies for picking songs really leaned towards what I think I’m strongest at and what I feel most comfortable doing. I really enjoy fun, high energy songs so that’s what leaned towards.  Also, I tried to have song choices that would go over well for the crowd.  Spotlight, in my mind, is much more about pleasing and entertaining the crowd than it is about singing perfectly. So when choosing a song each week, that’s what I looked for most.

-Jonathan Estes, Spotlight Crew Member.  Additional Writing by Jonathan Lawson

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