It’s been nearly a year since she took to the stage at Carrollwood Players Theatre and blew the audience and judges away with her renditions of Katy Perry’s “Firework” and Streisand’s “Somewhere.”
And on Aug. 9, Carrollwood Idol’s winner Jennifer Martin will see her successor crowned.
Jennifer, singing since the age of 5, was always involved in music through elementary, junior and high school, including chorus, a girl’s trio and a jazz group.
“After graduating, I moved onto karaoke and musical theater,” said Martin. “During my 12 years of military service, I was often chosen as the National Anthem singer at graduation, change of command, promotion and retirement ceremonies.”
Martin, a regular performer at Carrollwood Players Theatre, was drawn to Carrollwood Idol by the thought of not fighting to be heard at a noisy karaoke bar.
“I had been in several shows at Carrollwood Playhouse up to that point, and thought Idol sounded fun, and possibly win some cash. It is completely different to be able to get up and perform as a soloist than as a character in a musical. I love the feeling of butterflies in my stomach, it’s like riding a roller coaster with my feet on the ground,” she said.
“There are lots of reasons to participate; to be in the spotlight for a few minutes, to help support a great non-profit, to win exciting prizes, to show off your talent, the reasons are as varied as the contestants.”
Carrollwood Idol began at the theatre in 2011 as a fundraiser and showcase for local talent.
For the first time since its inception, due to requests from the community, Carrollwood Idol has branched into two categories of contestants – youth, 7 to 14 and adult, 15 and up.
Auditions are on Saturday, Aug. 2 and Finals competition on Saturday, Aug. 9.
“We have modeled the ‘audition’ process to make it similar to what people might expect from what they have seen on TV. For round one, contestants will sing a cappella for our three judges. The judges will not only give them verbal feedback, making this educational, they will decide who returns for the finals one week later,” said Jim.
“Contestants can pre-register for the audition round one phase on our website or can simply show up on Aug. 2 at the appropriate time for their age range.”
Carrollwood Idol is accepting applications through July 28. Contestants can register online or print and mail registration. The cost to participate in this third annual fundraiser for the theater is $5 for initial advance registration, $10 at box office on Aug. 2, the day of audition, and an additional $5 if selected to compete in the finals on Aug. 9.
Since 2011, this fundraiser has brought in nearly $5000 and helped attract new talent into the theater.
Audience members can purchase votes for their favorite contestants, but by no means is this a popularity contest that can be bought.
“Audience members get one free vote with the admission price of $10, and can purchase as many additional votes as they wish for $1 each,” said Russell. “This is a good time to point out that the contest IS a fundraiser for Carrollwood Players, so no matter who wins, our community wins because CWP gets the support it needs to continue being a gem for all in our area.”
At the finals on Aug. 9, each finalist will perform two songs for the judges and a live audience.
The three judges get a “super-vote” because it carries more weight than audience votes. This is designed to make the contest fair so that one cannot win just by getting the most audience votes.
“Combined, the audience and judge votes have proven in past years to do a great job of identifying the winner that has the most talent,” explained Russell. “There is a cash prize for the winner of each age category, plus some other prizes for runners up. We are looking for anyone who loves singing and wants to have some fun, support CWP, and maybe win some cash in the process.”
Martin offered words of wisdom to the 2014 contestants.
“Practice, dress well and be confident,” she said. “If you mess up, keep going; it’s what sets the pros apart. Everyone makes mistakes – it’s how you recover from them that makes the difference. Also, choose a song that suits your voice and that you connect with emotionally. The judges and audience remember the performances that connected with them.”
Carrollwood Idol Audition Day is Saturday, Aug. 2, 9 a.m. for youth and 1:30 p.m. for adults. Carrollwood Idol Finale is Saturday, Aug. 9, 2 p.m. for youth and 8 p.m. for adults. Audience tickets are $5 audition day and $10 finale.
Find out more information at www.carrollwoodplayers.org/special-events/carrollwood-idol.