It’s that time of year again … South County’s popular karaoke-style singing competition known as “Wakefield Idol” is back.
The contest, which began in 2014, is held weekly at the Contemporary Theater Company in Wakefield. Preliminary rounds begin January 13 and run for five weeks every Thursday night; the elimination rounds follow. After 12 weeks of competing, a winner is chosen. The top eight finalists earn prizes ranging from $50 to the first place prize of $1,500.
Although it’s not in any way connected to the popular ABC television show American Idol, the contestants of Wakefield Idol are just as thrilled to be there, and based on videos from years past, many perform at a comparable level to singers on the national show. Just like on TV, a panel of judges evaluates each singer and decides who goes forward.
“Anyone aged 14 and up can sign up to compete through our website. We encourage folks of all experience levels to join the fun,” says artistic director Tammy Brown. “It’s a great opportunity for students and less experienced singers to showcase their talent while receiving helpful, constructive feedback from the judges,” she explains. “It’s also a fantastic experience for those who’ve been singing for years, as they have the chance to sing in front of big, enthusiastic crowds every night.”
Perhaps the most important component of the competition is finding the right song, which contestants have the freedom to choose each week. “The strategy of picking songs that showcase a particular singer’s strengths, while continuing to surprise the audience night after night, is something that adds a little extra challenge to the competition,” notes Brown.
Like much of the live entertainment industry, the competition was held completely online last year. The good news is that this year’s event is in-person, with COVID-related precautions in place.
“We’re hoping for this year’s competition to very much resemble competitions of years past,” Brown says. “We will be hosting singers, judges, and audiences all in person. Everyone in the theater will be required to be vaccinated, and all audience members will be masked. We’re also investigating the idea of a hybrid model, where audience members may have the option to watch in person at the theater or at home via live stream.”
Idol fans can support their favorite contestants in the audience for $30 per show, or by purchasing a season ticket, which covers all 12 weeks for $260. $10 tickets are available for those 25 and under.
Brown is excited about the promise of this year’s competition. “The event is endlessly joyful, as you watch folks rise to the challenge of performing on stage in front of a large crowd every night. The enthusiasm of the audience is contagious as they root for the singers to perform at their best.”
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