Since mid-September, area residents have embraced a new fundraising effort as the United Way of Pottawatomie County introduced its own version of the popular television-reality show, 'The Voice.'

Since mid-September, area residents have embraced a new fundraising effort as the United Way of Pottawatomie County introduced its own version of the popular television-reality show, 'The Voice.'

The United Way's annual campaign kickoff was mid-September, and area groups were encouraged to audition for a singing competition where the community could vote on favorites posted on Facebook. Each dollar donated counted as one vote.

Out of the 14 participating individual or group acts, $1,816 was collected during the show's duration.

Over the course of eight weeks, two acts at a time were showcased on the United Way's Facebook page, where residents could donate to United Way and simultaneously vote for their favorite singer(s).

Finale

In the spirit of the reality show, four judges offered kudos and congrats to performers as they shared their talents. Emcee Nick Atwood walked the audience through the concert as judges determined who would be the winner.

Judges “Adam Levine,” a.k.a Michael Affentranger, “Alicia Keys,” a.k.a. United Way Director Lindsay Dyer, “Christina Aguilera,” a.k.a. Sarah Marchetti and “Pharell,” a.k.a. Chris Conway, perched on their thrones as musical acts were executed. The magistrates joked that “Blake Shelton” was unable to appear at the event.

Four finalists were chosen based on who had the highest vote totals. Those finalists performed Thursday evening at Life.Church.

Fourth-place finalist was local high-school sophomore Emily Day, representing American Red Cross, who performed an award-worthy rendition of the Les Miserables' “On My Own.”

Coming in third, Kassy Mize belted out “Don't Stop Believin,” — a Billboard Hit from the band Journey.

She represented Legacy Parenting.

Taking second place and representing Mission Shawnee was Mike Hawkins. Delivering of the low-pitched tune, he sang his version of “Ring of Fire,” recorded by country legend Johnny Cash in 1963.

The winner of the competition was local high-schooler Lux Olyvia, who represented Family Promise.

She sang an original folksy tune of her own called “Dog Bark,” while playing on guitar.

She joked that she almost backed out of the audition, but was thankful for the opportunity.

“I'm really thankful to be representing Family Promise,” she said. “Thank you to everybody who donated to every one of these amazing organizations; they're going to help a lot of people.”

Dyer said she was excited about how phenomenally talented the finalists were.

“It was great fun and there was a great turnout,” Dyer said.

Atwood said United Way will host the competition again at next year's kickoff.

Other Voice Contestants were:

• 1903 represented YMCA

• Ariell represented Project S.A.F.E.

• Boys and Girls Club represented themselves

• Canadian Valley Campers represented Boy Scouts

• Community Renewal represented themselves

• Ben Allred and Alicia Carter represented Gateway to Prevention & Recovery

• Jimmy D and the Heathers represented BancFirst

• Rappin' Jimmy and The Currents represented OG&E

• The 5th Non-Blonde, Craig Whitney represented Community Market

• The Clukeneers represented Shawnee Milling Company

For more information or to donate, visit unitedwaypottco.org or call (405) 273-4012.