And the 2012 Ship Idol winner is…Gillian Dolen


After nine long weeks, 10 contestants, countless songs and endless talent, the night that everyone was waiting for finally arrived.

Emily Keen and Gillian Dolen took the stage for the last time at the Ship Idol finale on Tuesday, April 16.

This was the night for which they had worked so hard. About 100 people showed up to show their support to Shippensburg’s newest superstars.

Like every week, Ship Idol supports a local charity and these audience members could buy extra votes in which the proceeds benefited the Officer Travis Henry Memorial Fund, which commemorates a Shippensburg University police officer.

Kicking off the show were the ladies of the night, singing “Call Me Maybe.”

The two set the tone for the night with the song by dancing around the stage and singing to the show’s host Kane Williams as he flirted his way around them.

After the fun warm up, it was time to get down to business as the ladies sang their two songs of the night.


One song was chosen by the very first Ship Idol, Jean Martinez and the other was their crowning songs, which they chose themselves.

Dolen showed she was ready to rock as she hit the stage decked out in hot pink pants and matching highlights in her blond hair.

She completed her look with a black halter top and black heels.

Her first song of the night was “Warwick Avenue,” by Duffy, which was selected by Martinez. The judges were amazed by her beautiful voice and her stage presence.

She was very comfortable on the stage and portrayed a lot of confidence.

For Keen’s “Jean’s pick” she sang “Sampson,” which was a slow-paced song that showed off her raw, natural sound.

Keen put a lot of emotion into the song which made it come alive for the audience. The judges said they were astounded and the performance gave them chills. Martinez even admitted that the performance made him tear up a bit.

The night was jam- packed with musical performances and talent, not only by Keen and Dolen, but by previous Ship Idol contestants.

The acapella group Treble Makers, sang “Edge of Glory,” for their first ever public performance.
Most of the Ship Idol contestants from this year and last year sang numerous songs together including “Walking on Sunshine/Halo” mashup, “We are Young” and more.

After all the special guests and performances, it was time for the ladies to sing their crowning song, which is the song that they will sing when they win.

Keen sang, “Let Me Be Your Star,” from the television show “Smash.” This song had a Broadway feel to it, which showed off the roots of Keen’s voice. She was not afraid to belt it out and show that this was her moment to shine.

Dolen was also not afraid to show her talent and passion for singing as she belted out, “Born to Fly,” by Sara Evans. Like Keen, Dolen also sang a song that showed her true passion and fit her genre, which was country. She sang the song with a bounce in her step and a continuous smile.

Once the contestants finished their performances, the audience had a tough decision to make.
For the past nine weeks, both girls proved that they had tremendous talent and showed Shippensburg that they were deserving of the Ship Idol award.

Fate was out of their hands and into those of the audience. After the audience voted, the girls were gathered on the stage as Kevin Battersby, co-chairperson of Ship Idol, revealed the results.

He went on for about two minutes to build suspense. Once the audience was on the edge of their seats, he announced that Emily Keen was runner up, making Gillian Dolen the 2012 Ship Idol and the first female to win Ship Idol.

The audience applauded and cheered wildly for both girls, but as the winner, Dolen had to sing her crowning song.

She belted out “Born to Fly” one last time officially as the new Ship Idol.

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