Largo Teen Idol 2013, the annual talent competition that features young performers from all over the Tampa Bay area, takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Largo Cultural Center.
Ten finalists were chosen from an original pool of roughly forty contestants, according to event organizer Andre Jones.
As is the case each year since the competition began in 2006, Jones expects about 250 people to turn out to cheer on the talented contestants.
“What makes this competition great is we meet talented people every year,” Jones said Wednesday night as the finalists went through rehearsals.
“I’m a recording artist also, so to see all these talented kids on stage every year, it gets me totally excited. I love it.”
Participants in the competition range in age from 13 – 18 years old, and they're not allowed to have any professional representation or be signed to a recording contract.
In the past the event has been a springboard to potential fame and professional earnings, though. Jones said four previous Largo Teen Idol contestants have gone on to earn spots in televised singing competitions "American Idol" and "The Voice."
In fact, one of this year's finalists had to drop out because she was invited to try out for "The Voice" on the same night, and Dunedin resident Natalie Hernandez, who made it to the battle rounds on “The Voice” last fall, will be a judge for this year’s contest.
“Those shows have a lot to do with our success,” Jones said. “Those four kids have been on this platform right here.”
While many of the finalists have years of experience performing in front of crowds, others, like 15-year-old Largo High student Haley Robinson, are still getting used to being on such a big stage.
“I’ve been into music since I was eight years old, but I just started performing about a year ago, and this is only my second big event,” she said prior to rehearsals.
“I’m anxious, nervous and excited. It’s going to be fun to perform up on stage.”
If you go:
What: Largo Teen Idol 2013
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21
Cost: $9 online or $7 at the Cultural Center box office
Visit the Largo Cultural Center webpage or call 727-587-6793.
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