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Kowaliga Idol seeks singers, want-to-be stars

Published 11:53am Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Local talent is in high demand for Lake Martin’s karaoke-style singing competition, Kowaliga Idol.

“We wanted it to be all about Lake Martin and all about the people here who want to come out and display their talents,” said John Kennedy, president of Lake Broadcasting.

The event is sponsored by Kowaliga Country 97.5, and organizers are planning for 60 hopeful contestants.

“It’s kind of a mini starting point for someone to up their game … and see if they have what it takes to be a star,” Kennedy said.

Kowaliga Idol takes its inspiration from American Idol, with contestants singing the song of their choice according to a different theme each week. The contest will be held at the Lake Martin Event Center at The Rodeo Club.

“People make signs … they all root for their favorite entertainer,” said Ed Shikoski, Lake Martin Event Center owner. “I would say it’s about the biggest crowd we’ve ever enjoyed in the Rodeo Club since Billy Ray Cyrus about 19 years ago.”

A panel of unbiased judges from outside the area judges contestants.

“After each entertainer they do a short critique – usually pretty positive,” Shikoski said.

Kennedy called the competition a “glorified karaoke contest that has spawned into incredible talents.”

One past competitor is Sid Phelps, who won Kowaliga Idol last year.

“It’s an awesome experience,” Phelps said. “It’s fun – it’s nothing to get stressed out about. Everybody has a fantastic time.”

Phelps, who is from Troy, said he has had a solo act for the past few years and is looking at getting a band together. Friends encouraged him to participate in Kowaliga Idol.

“I come to the lake a lot during the summer and play shows in different places,” Phelps said. “I think (Kowaliga Idol) was a very neat process. For anyone that is really interested in music or just wants to try it out, it’s a great stepping stone.”

Kennedy said since its inception the contest has grown in popularity and now sees entrants from up to a 150-mile radius.

The top five finishers win prizes, including everything from a free trip to gym memberships and cosmetic makeovers. Phelps received recording time in a Nashville studio, a free trip to New Orleans, a photo shoot and a makeover.

“We have a lot of fun with it, and it’s become a big event,” Kennedy said.

Minimum age to participate is 14, and children younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent.

There is no entry fee for the contest.

Deadline to enter is Feb. 8 and the contest runs Feb. 15 through March 8.

For more information about participating in Kowaliga Idol, call 256-234-6221 or pick up an application at the Lake Martin Event Center at the Rodeo Club or at WKGA Kowaliga Country.

“If you like going out and singing karaoke, or your friends tell you you’re a good singer … this is a very easy way to tiptoe into it and see if you want to get in the business of performing,” Phelps said.

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