KINGSPORT — Hundreds will gather and when the host takes the stage, he might utter those famous words, “This is ... Kingsport Idol!?!”
That’s right, Kingsport Idol is back for it’s sixth year. The local talent show had a record number of entries this year, with 158 people registering for a chance to sing in front of hundreds and win recording time in a studio and cash prizes.
Don’t let the size of the competition fool you because there has been some serious talent come through this competition.
“Just because we’re a small competition doesn’t overshadow the talent we have,” said Kingsport Idol coordinator Mark Kilgore. “Last year there was some awesome talent and this year there’s even more.”
Last year’s Kingsport Idol winner, Julieona Soto, recently signed with an entertainment company in Los Angeles. Another winner, Brinley Addington, signed in Nashville recently.
An auditioning process has already taken place and out of the 158 people who registered, 88 have moved on to the first round and the chance to perform in front of the public.
Contestants are put into four separate categories based on their age. The four categories are 10- to 13-year-olds, 14- to 17-year-olds, 18- to 24-year-olds and 25 and up. What makes this unique is sometimes you will have entire families in the competition and all competing in a different category, Kilgore said.
Age groups will compete against each other and will sing two songs on stage. Since so many acts made it through, the first round will take place over the course of two weeks, with two age categories performing on the first week and the other two the next week.
The competition will open to the public on May 28 and will be held every Tuesday through June 25. The shows are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. with doors opening at 5:15.
Kingsport Idol 2013 will take place at a new venue, the Farmers Market.
“One thing that is very important this year is the public has to bring their own chair,” Kilgore said. “It will have an indoor/outdoor concert feel. We’ll have the doors rolled up, but it will kind of be like an outdoor show.”
Now to the part everyone has been waiting for — how are the contestants going to be judged?
There will be three or four judges for the competition. All will have musical backgrounds of some kind and will have a specific criteria they need to go by. The competition will be based on 50 percent vocal ability, 20 percent stage presence and 30 percent overall performance.
And now for another question you may be asking yourself — what songs are the contestants going to sing?
“Each week they get a different category of musical genre,” Kilgore said. “They don’t know what it is until they log on and find out. They have to choose from a list of songs of about 50 or more.”
Kilgore said having contestants perform music they may not be familiar with is pushing them out of their comfort zone. He said he doesn’t want to make the contest stressful or strenuous, but challenging.
Kingsport Idol 2013 will be sponsored by Knoxville TVA Credit Union, Action Rental, WKPT, Electric 94.9, WXBQ, Bays Mountain State Park and HMG.
The finale will be held on July 17 at Fun Fest and will be held during the Taste of Tri-Cities.
Kilgore wants to encourage the public to come out and give Kingsport Idol 2013 a shot.
“This is a community-based show,” he said. “This is great for the community of Kingsport to be able to come out and enjoy something on a weekly basis.”