Ten high school students have been chosen for the finals of the “American Idol’’-style KC SuperStar competition to determine the area’s best high school singer.
The winner gets a $7,500 scholarship and the title of KC SuperStar of 2013. Second place receives a $2,500 scholarship. Third place has been increased by $500 to $1,500 and, for the first time, fourth place will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship. The other six finalists each receive $500.
The finals will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 25 in Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College. The top four contestants will be selected by judges. Then an audience vote chooses the winner.
The 10 were chosen from 22 semi-finalists Monday by a three-judge panel in White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center. The original field of more than 200 students was reduced to semi-finalists through a series of auditions beginning in May. The contestants, accompanied by recorded instrumental tracks, sang a song of their choice.
The finalists, the schools they attend and the songs they sang:
Monica Sigler, Olathe East, “Good Girl’’
Jackson Gulick, Shawnee Mission Northwest, “Driving Me Crazy’’
Abby Parra, Bishop Miege, “Who Are You’’
Maggie Marx, Shawnee Mission Northwest, “Up to the Mountain’’
Houston St. John, Shawnee Mission East, “She’s Out of My Life’’
CeCe Dawson, Kearney, “Straight Up’’
Kendra Leet, Lawrence, “Mercy’’
Samantha Smith, Blue Valley West, “Fix You’’
John Long, Lee’s Summit West, “I Will Not Be Silent’’
Dylan Martin, Blue Valley Northwest, “Everything’’
Three of the 10 were finalists in last year’s competition.
Samantha Smith, who placed second last year, was just as excited this year.
“Maybe even more. It’s such an amazing experience,” she said. “I enjoy meeting the people. I’m hoping to do even better than last year, but the competition is very strong.’’
CeCe Dawson said last year was fun.
“I met so many nice people,” she said. “Everything was more familiar this year. I’m going to a sing, dance and act workshop in Los Angeles for two weeks this summer which I hope will help me in the finals.’’
Jackson Gulick also said last year helped.
“I knew what to expect this year and I also knew CeCe and Samantha from last year. They’re good friends. I write music so I get a lot of practice singing,” Gulick said. “I may get a vocal coach this summer to improve my technique.’’
Judges at the semi-finals this year were Kristi Mitchell, a music teacher at The Barstow School; Tim Bair, Producing Artistic Director at The Theatre in the Park; and Whitney Smith, a booking agent with the Street Level Agency.
The semi-finals were free to the public. People were asked to donate a non-perishable food item to the Jewish Family Service Community Food Pantry. The event was hosted by Michaelah Burns of Blue Springs High School, who was 2011 KC SuperStar, and KCTV anchor Karen Fuller. Burns and Erick Patrick, last year’s winner from Olathe South, aren’t eligible to compete again because they were previous winners.
Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt will be honored during the finals ceremony in August as this year’s Community SuperStar for his philanthropy and commitment to Kansas City. J. Kent Barnhart, executive director of Quality Hill Playhouse, will again be master of ceremonies.
KC SuperStar is produced by Tammy Ruder, Olathe, and the Jewish Community Center, 5801 W. 115th St. in Overland Park.