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Weeks after American Idol ends, Tampa Bay Idol auditions begin



American-idol-judges For more than a few seasons, I've burned to be the fourth judge next to Simon Cowell on American Idol.

Forget Kara: Had I been in one of those driver's seats, America might have made a difference choice a few weeks ago (okay, probably not). And now I'm going to have my chance to affect, however slightly, the course of the next Idol.

By helping judge the Tampa Bay Idol competition.

I blame pop music critic Sean Daly for getting me into this; he's the one who lit up the Idol discussions on WTVT-Ch. 13 during the show's run, and was nice enough to suggest me as a possible judge when they were looking for people to handle to local contest.

Each year, WTVT offers one audition spot before Idol producers to the winner of their Tampa Bay Idol contest. You can enter by sending a non-returnable video DVD or VHS videotape of an “a cappella” performance (singing without music) to WTVT at FOX13 TAMPA BAY IDOL 3213 W. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, Florida 33609. You also need to fill out an entry form found here; tapes must reach the station by next Wednesday, June 24.

Cowell-thumbs Sean and I will join longtime local singer Belinda Womack, Meredith from The MJ Show on WFLZ-FM and WTVT reporter Charley Belcher sifting through the tapes to choose 10 semi-finalists and two alternates.

The semi-finalists will sing during a competition at noon at the Westfield Mall in Brandon on July 1; the winner gets an audition before Idol producers -- not star judges Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson -- on July 9 in Orlando. WFLZ will provide a $100 gas card to cover transportation. 

A few tips: Videos should be no longer than 4 minutes. Entries from minors must be accompanied with a letter of written consent from his/her parent or legal guardian. Entrants must be aged 16 to 28 as of June 12, 2009.

After 30 years as a musician, including a record deal with Motown, time spent playing gigs everywhere from New York City to Japan and nearly 20 years as a journalist, I feel all my experience has prepared me for this moment.
Eric-mug Randy-jackson
And yes, I'm ready for lots of Randy Jackson jokes.

So send those entries in and maybe you could be the next Kris Allen -- or at least the next Sanjaya.     

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:59pm]


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