Kingsport Idol is back for another year.
And this time, the local talent show had a record number of entrants registering for a chance to sing in front of hundreds and win cash prizes and studio recording time.
Mark Kilgore, the coordinator and host of the event, says he started Kingsport Idol in 2006 with just 40 contestants and crowds of 350 watching each week.
“This year, we had 158 contestants and crowds of over 800 people watching for the preliminaries each week at the Farmers Market. Last year, we had 5,000 people for the finale. So, I’m hoping for an even bigger crowd this year,” Kilgore said.
Last year’s Kingsport Idol winner, Julieona Soto, recently signed with an entertainment company in Los Angeles, and Kingsport Idol’s first-year winner, Brinley Addington, has signed with a company in Nashville.
“Our competition showcases that east Tennessee and southwest Virginia has a lot of singing talent in the region,” Kilgore said. “The competition is here to expose that talent and hopefully someone in music business will get to hear what talent we have.”
Contestants are divided into four categories based on their age: 10- to 13-year-olds, 14- to 17-year-olds, 18- to 24-year-olds, and 25 and older. Kilgore said this year there was a tie in the 18- to 24-year-old age group so there are three contestants in this age group vying for the title.
Kingsport Idol 2013 will crown a new winner Wednesday when the nine finalists perform from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. during Fun Fest at Memorial Park across from J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
The finalists include:
• 10- to 13-year-old age group — LeeAnn Mazzei and Emily Spencer. Mazzei attends Indian Trail Middle School and enjoys singing, dancing, sewing, crafting, making clothes and spending time with friends and family. She lives with her parents and her pet dog, Bella. Spencer attends Holston Middle School and loves to sing and act. She lives with her parents, brothers, sisters and pet cat, Macey.
• 14- to 17-year-old age group — Tristan Craft and Torrey Edmunds. Craft attends West Greene High School. He loves to sing, go to church, read and hang out with friends. He lives with his parents, twin brother, half brother and two sisters. Edmunds attends Dobyns-Bennett High School. He loves to sing, surf the web and hang out with friends. He lives with his mother and has one brother and three sisters.
• 18- to 24-year-old age group — Meghan Sizemore-Brown, John Kaywood and Stacy Wilson. Sizemore-Brown is a patient care tech in Kingsport. She loves to sing, dance, make YouTube videos and spend time with her family. She is a newlywed, having just gotten married on May 18. Kaywood was born and raised in Kingsport, graduating from Sullivan South High School. He loves music, playing guitar and is in a local band. He aspires to be a singer and songwriter in the music business. Wilson is a registered nurse and full-time mom. She loves to attend church every Sunday with her family, and on a sunny day you will find her in the park with her 2-year-old daughter.
• 25 and older age group — Kandis Barnett and Teshia Pruitt. Barnett works in patient services at a pain center in Kingsport and enjoys spending time with her family and friends and playing basketball. Pruitt is a full-time single mom. She loves to sing and entertain in front of people and play instruments.
Kingsport Idol 2013 is sponsored by Bays Mountain Park, Bristol Broadcasting, New Vision Youth and Dothert Studios.