By Kathryn Schoenberger
Hampton Union, Friday, August 25, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]
[File photo by Andrew Moore]
HAMPTON -- "American Idol" has become a television institution with millions tuning in each week to see their favorite contestants and versions of the show produced all over the world.
Last year, Hampton Beach got in on the action with its very own Hampton Beach Idol competition.
The show began as a two-night contest with a junior for those under 18 and senior division for those over 18. However, after last summer's crowds packed the Seashell Stage to watch aspiring performers sing their hearts out, it has been expanded into a three-night extravaganza. Contestants compete for cash prizes up to $500, bragging rights and the untold promise of future fame.
Event organizers expect to improve upon last year's event, which drew a crowd estimated at more than 1,000 spectators.
The Beach Idol show was created by Hampton Beach Village District, who wanted to bring back the old talent shows that used to be held at the beach. Last year's competition drew contestants from throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Taylor Ann House, then an 8-year-old, won the first-ever junior Hampton Beach Idol Competition singing "Tomorrow" from "Annie." John Bolduc took home the title in the senior division.
The fun this year begins tonight at 7 p.m. with the junior semifinals. The senior semifinalists will sing on Saturday at 7 p.m. The two new Hampton Beach Idols will be crowned on Sunday at 7 p.m. after what is sure to be the ultimate display of Seacoast singing skill.
Chloe Pasi, 17, of Exeter, will compete in the Hampton Beach Idol competition this weekend
Chloe Pasi, 17, a senior at Exeter High School, is one of the Idol hopefuls.
"It's a real confidence boost," she said of being chosen for the contest.
Pasi has been singing since the seventh grade when she began training with voice instructor Karen Cameron.
"She's inspired me to sing jazz," Pasi said. "That's what I want to do for the rest of my life."
Pasi did not know about the competition until the day before when her mother heard about it from a friend.
"I had to run and record my audition tape and mail it off first class," she said. "It was last minute."
For her tape, Pasi sang the jazz tune "Cry Me a River" by Arthur Hamilton (not to be confused with Justin Timberlake's song of the same name). She said she will sing "Cry Me a River" for the first round and if she makes it to the finals she will sing "Stormy Weather" by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler.
Since being chosen as a semifinalist, Pasi has preparing by singing everyday.
"I also bought a cute little dress to wear, that's key of course," she said with a laugh.
In addition, Pasi is rallying support from friends and family, encouraging everyone she knows to attend.
"Audience participation is huge," she said.
As for the competition itself, she knows it will be tough.
"You just do your thing and hope you wow the judges," she said.
Pasi recognizes there are a lot of aspiring songstresses out there, but she thinks she can distinguish herself from the competition through her choice of jazz music.
"I'm just hoping people will see me as a serious jazz musician," she said.
With standing room only at last summer's shows, spectators better get to the Seashell Stage early that day or risk being left without an Idol.
[File photo by Andrew Moore]