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'America's Got Talent' auditions in Tampa draw hundreds


In her dreams, Persida Medina is a rock star.

She's got talent, she says. Medina, 32, of Deland, plays seven instruments, sings and writes songs.

But reality hasn't quite caught up: Medina is a social worker and has a second job at McDonald's.

That could change, if her voice and hot pink guitar can impress the judges.

Medina joined hundreds of others Saturday in line outside the Tampa Convention Center to audition for the NBC talent show America's Got Talent. The show, visiting Tampa for the first time this year, planned to hold auditions again today.

From aging adults hoping for a last shot at fame to doting mothers convinced their children are stars, there didn't seem to be anyone with a lack of confidence in the crowd.

Shaina Ravis, a 30-year-old singer from Jacksonville, already knew what the judges would think of her.

"I'm fabulous," she said.

Wearing a purple dress with glitter on her eyelids, she planned to impress judges by singing Because the Night, a song by alternative rock group 10,000 Maniacs.

She has been on TV once as a singing contestant on ABC's Karaoke Battle USA, she said. She figured she could do it again.

Cameryn Todd, 13, clogged her way through the audition.

She's been dancing since she was 2 and started incorporating clog dancing into her jazz routine three years ago.

"I have a passion for dance and like to try new things," she said.

She and her mom, Nicole Todd, left their Leesburg home at 4 a.m. to get in line for the audition. They were done by noon, but will have to wait until March to find out if the judges liked her.

Either way, they'll still watch the show.

"I think it's awesome to see all these different types of talent," Nicole Todd said.

A self-taught pianist, James Williams, 14, of Wesley Chapel waited in line quietly with his head phones on, keeping to himself. His mom, however, couldn't hide her pride.

"He's a gifted piano player that the judges need to hear," Stephanie Dawson said. "He plays classical music and by ear."

He started playing the piano a few years ago on a whim, she said. He sent a videotape to the show last year and was invited to audition in person this time around.

"I'm a quiet cheerleader," she said. "He knows I've got a passion for his dreams, too."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at or (813) 661-2442.

>> If you go

There's still time

Auditions for America's Got Talent's seventh season continue from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St. For details, go to americasgottalent

'America's Got Talent' auditions in Tampa draw hundreds 11/12/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 5:46pm]
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