Singing contest brings out Mount Airys best

First Posted: 1/10/2009

Brandon France isnt shy when it comes to singing in public. Hes sang in his church and school choirs, benefit concerts and even graced the stage at a karaoke joint.
But Saturday night, he stepped it up a notch.
He performed at Hillbilly Country for a local singing contest that might air his performance on iON Television Network.
The producers of Talent Search TV, an interactive, live, Internet television network, are hosting area contests in the Triad and surrounding area. Saturday, they sat up shop in Hillbilly Country for aspiring singers and bands to take their shot at fame.
The contest is part of a local series with a premise similar to the popular Fox-series American Idol, and will also allow its viewers to vote for their favorite performers online.
Talent Search TV will air on the iON Television Network, which is carried locally on cable, DirecTV and over the air on Channel 16, starting Jan. 16 at 11:30 p.m. The series will last for 20 weeks, with a winner selected from each episode by the viewers who vote online. The winners of the local contests will be chosen by the producers, and will also be the ones selected to have their contest footage appear on air. The fate of those who appear on the show will be left in the hands of the viewers who vote online.
All 20 weekly winners will compete for a grand prize of $500 at the 2009 Twin City Ribfest in Winston-Salem at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds June 11-24.
Saturdays contest at Hillbilly Country was a small turnout that had big talent, the Talent Search TV producers said.
The talent has been really good, said Debbie Anderson Locke, who will host the show. Ive been happily surprised by the talent.
Her husband, and the shows creator, Bobby Locke, agreed.
Its what I expected, it was good for the first time, he said.
About seven singers and one band performed for a crowd of 40 at the local establishment.
Nineteen-year-old Tiffany Rogers was excited about the chance to win $500, but said she wasnt in the contest for the money.
Im really excited about the chance to sing, she explained about why she auditioned. Its not about the winning, but just getting out there and singing. Its my dream. Its hard to get into something like this professionally, so I make sure I take every chance I get.
The Surry Community College student said shes no stranger to televised auditions, having tried out for American Idol when she was 16-years-old, but not getting the yellow slip to Hollywood.
I think it was my age, said Rogers, whose been singing since she was in middle school. They told me to keep singing and allow my voice to mature. They said to come back when I matured and had more experience. I also dont think I chose the right song.
Her choice of Crazy by country-singer Patsy Cline may have done her better justice. It was received Saturday night with a round of applause.
Rogers said she knows better now, which is why shes auditioning for next season of American Idol.
Like Rogers, Brandon France, 20, was less concerned about the chance to win money and more thrilled about just singing and having a little fun.
I really wanted to check it out, said France, who attended the contest with a few family members. He sang a rendition of John Legends Ordinary People.
Working as a professional photographer, France said he pursued something more realistic as a career to pay the bills, but never kept singing far from his mind.
I didnt want try to be star and end up a waiter, he said, smiling. I came here to have a good time and a little fun.
While he was excited about the chance to win $500, Jack Holt said he was hoping the gospel songs he sang would move peoples heart.
I owe everything to God, and I am hoping for a revival, said the 40-year-old, who attended with his wife and son. I hope everyone will be pleased. I would love to win $500, but I really want a great revival to break loose from people watching this.
Locke said the Talent Search TV would return to the area in eight weeks for another contest.
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Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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