AFTER THE ROAR of the crowd dies down, a student on stage lures chords out of her guitar, singing the lyrics she's written in a small, pure voice. Behind her, real-time appraisals from the audience appear one after another on a large screen. She's one of 16 finalists vying for the title of Miami Idol at Miami University (OH). If she wins, she'll receive a Microsoft Xbox 360 with Kinect, courtesy of a soft drink vendor. But that's not why she sings… Next month, ...

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