Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'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]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Confederacy loses again, this time in court


    TAMPA — While the Hillsborough County commission was wrestling over the future of Confederate monument at the county courthouse, a lawsuit has been playing out in court over how best to represent the Civil War across town at Veterans Memorial Park.

    Supporters of a Civil War display at Veterans Memorial Park and Museum had a brochure made to attract donations. They argue in a lawsuit that their efforts were thwarted when the park's executive committee changed their plans.
  2. Iconic Ballet Nacional de Cuba ballet will perform at Straz in May


    Besides fine tobacco, Ballet Nacional de Cuba is considered by many to be the island nation's most distinctive export.

    Ballet Nacional de Cuba, one of the world's premiere ballet companies, will perform at the Straz Center in May.

 [Courtesy of Carlos Quezada]
  3. I-275 south closed in St. Pete heading towards Sunshine Skyway


    ST. PETERSBURG — All southbound lanes of Interstate 275 on the southern tip of Pinellas County were closed Wednesday afternoon due to a traffic crash with injuries, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  4. Bucs-Jaguars: Five things to watch Thursday in Jacksonville


    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs have their second preseason game here Friday against the Jaguars, and here are five things to keep an eye on as Tampa Bay moves closer to paring its roster from 90 players to 53 by Sept. 3.


    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  5. Former Rep. Corrine Brown denied new trial; to be sentenced in November


    JACKSONVILLE (AP)—A federal judge has denied a request for a new trial by former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, who was found guilty of taking money from a sham charity that was purported to be aiding poor students.

    Corrine Brown