Bowie Idol crown taken with “Queen”


Photo Courtesy of Ava Nielsen

Senior Ava Nielsen stands outside of her house with the Student Council sponsor Kaylin Brett, who gave her balloons and flowers. The student council also wrote Nielsen a letter congratulating her on her win.

Corinne Piorkowski, Entertainment Editor

The process of recording a video, mixing songs, coordinating outfit changes, filming different scenes, and blending it all together is not a job for just anyone, which is what it takes to participate in Bowie Idol, especially in trying times like these.

Senior Ava Nielsen did all of that and more with her choreographed video to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. This five minute video won Nielsen the 2020 virtual Bowie Idol title. 

“It was crazy awesome to be chosen as the winner,” Nielsen said. “I have been participating in Bowie Idol since I was a freshman, and to be the winner this year was so rewarding and exciting.”

Nielsen’s entry was collaborated on by her and her father, Rod Nielsen, as they edited and created the piece as a pair.

“Of course I was really excited to do it because I like to do things that are meaningful time spent,” Rod said. “It also shows me the kind of drive and dedication Ava has when she is really motivated.”

Rod Nielsen, Ava Nielsen’s father, sits at the desk of his recording studio while mixing Ava’s song. To make the video, the audio and video were combined after filming was completed. Photo Courtesy of Ava Nielsen

Since Bowie Idol this year was virtual, Ava expressed there were different kinds of challenges to take on than in traditional performances.

“I knew I wanted to do some big grand performance at Bowie Idol with a Queen song,” Ava said. “When it was announced to be virtual, I knew I had to take on the challenge.” 

Bowie Idol is an annual project run by the Student Council that has traditionally operated as a way for the Student Council to collect funds.

“Typically, Bowie Idol serves as a big fundraiser for the group that hosts it,” Student Council President Chance Valdes said. “Although this year, it was strictly online attendance so there was no money involved.” 

Although the voting was not by the Student Council, they were still largely involved in the process and the entries.

“As someone who is passionate about film and editing, I thought Ava’s entry was very impressive,” Valdes said. “I really enjoyed the fast-pace feel of the video and the vivid colors along with her singing.” 

Along with coming up with a talent idea, the recording and editing process of Bowie Idol this year was also a vital part of the entry, considering the circumstances.

“She started recording her video before the audio mixing and editing was done,” Rod said. “She used a sample track to use in her video while I finished working on the song, that way we could do two things at once.”

As the winner of Bowie Idol, Ava has been receiving lots of praise from the Bowie community. 

“Everyone has been really sweet and congratulating me on winning,” Ava said. “I have had lots of my friends and other students text me and tell me that my video was really good and that they watched it ten times.”

Since it was virtual, the Bowie Idol voting process for this year was different for students and teachers.

“We submitted the videos through Google classroom,” Ava said. “Then the student council combined all the videos into one big video and sent out a Google Form for students and teachers to vote for their pick.”

When the winner was announced, Rod described that it was very exciting and surprising for all involved.

“I was super excited because I of course knew it was really good but I had no idea the reactions of other people would be or what the competition would be like,” Rod said. “I am super proud because it will be something that we will always have.” 

Ava’s Bowie Idol entry will be remembered among many for years to come because of her singing, dancing, and acting. 

“It makes me really happy that it made everyone smile because I worked really hard on it,” Ava said.