Tampa Bay Idol winner heading to Orlando auditions: Could she be the next American Idol?
After a week helping judge WTVT-Ch. 13's Tampa Bay Idol contest, now I understand why Fox is backing up the money truck for Simon Cowell (at last count, a salary of $144-million per season was in the offing).
Joined by MJ Morning Show personality Meredith, area vocalist Belinda Womack and WTVT-Ch. 13 feature reporter Charley Belcher, we slogged through 80 video submissions last Thursday.
Then on Wednesday, we saw 10 finalists sing their hearts out before a crowd of a couple hundred people at the Brandon Mall. But as much as I wanted to unleash my inner Cowell -- best I could do was letting one fella know, gently, that his appearance wasn't quite up to snuff for the gig -- the contestants were just too good.
One kid came looking like a backup singer for Chris Brown and unleashed an amazing take on Somewhere Over the Rainbow (think Jennifer Holiday-meets Sam Harris). Another guy stepped up looking like a roadie for Kid Rock and uncorked a spine-tingling version of Oleta Adams Get Here.
In addition to having great vocal chops, though, she had a sexy, spunky look, a great outgoing performance attitude and the kind of unexpected act -- punky girl with the soulful vocal chops -- that might make an impression with Idol producers.
Leigh gets a gas card worth $100 and a guaranteed spot before the show's producers when they come to Orlando July 9 to audition Floridians.
We were just hoping to pick someone who might pull a Jordin Sparks and go from local affiliate contest winner to overall Idol champ. (photos courtesy of Fox 13)
Take a look at the video below. I think you'll agree that we may have pulled that off.