Again this year a Missouri high school woman from Oak Grove has received the title of 2016 Missouri State Fair Idol Sunday afternoon in the Budweiser Tent. Mallory Griffin, 16, swept up the honor with her meticulous, renditions of “Like We Never Loved at All,” by Faith Hill and “Bleeding Love,” by Leona Lewis.
This win was especially sweet for Griffin because she is a friend of last year’s winner, Savannah Purkey, also of Oak Grove. Purkey won last year at age 15.
Griffin competed against six other finalists in Sunday’s competition. She received a $500 prize for first place, from sponsor Bimbo Bakeries USA, and the opportunity to perform next year with an opening song in the Pepsi Grandstand the first night of the MSF.
Placing second was Jessica McKinney, 38, of Sedalia who received $250.
The women competed against finalists, Chelsea, Skrivan, of Lake Ozark, Morgan Westphal, 17, of Sedalia, Kaitlyn Pfeifer, of St. Louis, Darcy Peters, of Graham, and Chelcie Kimzey, of Strafford.
Griffin will be a junior at Oak Grove High School this year and has always loved to sing.
“I have a friend who sings a lot, she’s actually the winner from last year,” Griffin said of Purkey. “We took lessons together, and from there I started entering different competitions.”
Griffin said she was “thankful” to receive the 2016 MSF Idol title.
“I didn’t know I was going to win at all,” she added. “So, I’m really thankful.”
Griffin said she enjoys singing all music, but especially pop and some country, and she hopes to pursue a professional career in singing.
“That will definitely be my goal,” she noted.
Griffin’s mother Melissa Griffin said she was excited and almost speechless for her daughter to have this opportunity.
“There was so much talent,” she added. “Everyone was so awesome, I don’t know how the judges decided, but I’m thrilled.”
Loy Griffin, Mallory’s father, was so overcome that his daughter had won, he could barely speak without tears.
“It just blows me away,” he said of her voice.
MSF Idol Judge Britt Faaborg also commented on the quality of Griffin’s vocals.
“Her voice is just tremendous, just a really nice tone, and she is very comfortable on stage,” he said.
Faaborg added that Griffin also presented a lot charisma and pose for a young woman of 16.
Second place winner McKinney said she was really happy for Griffin.
“She really deserved it,” she noted.
McKinney added that she was on “cloud nine” to have received an award.
“I’m really happy about it, and I think I did the best I could do,” she said.
McKinney noted that if she had to be runner-up she was pleased to received the award alongside Griffin.
“God bless her, she’s only 16,” she added.
McKinney, a mother of two, said MSF Idol Judge Sandy Cordes was her vocal music teacher in high school, Faaborg had been her voice coach, and Lucy Lemke Clark, also an Idol judge, was her peer while in high school.
“So to be judged by those three people was really nerve wracking,” she said. “It was an honor to be able to sing for them, and show them that over the last 20 years how far we’ve all come. For them to place me as runner up that was really great.”
From here McKinney will continue to perform with a blues band called Boogie Band, from Marshall.
“We sing pretty much all over Missouri,” she noted. “Anywhere there’s a microphone I’m on it.”
Missy Mays, MSF Idol program coordinator and emcee, said this year 40 people signed up for the competition with an age range of 15 to 70 years.
“This year’s been really good,” Mays said. “We’ve had high-quality people, these are a great top seven.”
This year all the finalists were women. Mays said not as many men participated in the 2016 contest.
“We had some good guys, but they didn’t make it to today, so we encourage them to come back,” she added.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.