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Local singers to compete for Idol title

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February 7, 2008
— Up-and-coming local performers will belt it out under a bright spotlight as they compete for the chance to record a demo CD and be heard on the radio.

Modeled after the insanely popular television show “American Idol,” the Geneva Idol contest gives 30 local singers a chance to showcase their skills. Often, it also is a springboard to audition for the real thing.


“We have such amazing local talent,” said Nancy Douglass, general manager of Lake 96.1 FM and coordinator of Geneva Idol.


Past contestants also have competed in other local Idol-like contests, and some have gone on to audition for “American Idol” and similar reality television shows.


Geneva Idol draws people from all walks of life.


“You’ve got 75-year-old men singing Tony Bennett to 16-year-old girls singing Carrie Underwood,” Douglass said.


The contestants often are experienced performers—many are karaoke regulars—and bring impressive vocal ability.


“It actually is shocking,” Douglass said. “They’re really charged up.”


Unlike its namesake, the Geneva Idol contest doesn’t have a panel of judges with a harsh, straight-talking Brit.


“We’re too nice for that,” Douglass said with a laugh.


Six judges, including the president of a local record label, a local songwriter and a past Geneva Idol winner, evaluate the contestants but don’t give an out-loud critique.


The singer crowned the 2008 Geneva Idol wins $500, a recording session at Machine Records in Lake Geneva and airtime on Lake 96.1. The second- and third-place winners receive $200 and $100, respectively. A People’s Choice winner, selected by the audience, receives $50.


Douglass said the audience eats up the competition and really gets into the performances.


“Once we get started, no one really wants to get up,” she said.


Sponsored by the Geneva Lakes Women’s Association, the event is a major fund-raiser for local non-profit organizations. The association needs to raise $3,000 this year to fill a growing number of requests for financial assistance.


The Geneva Idol contest is its fifth year, and organizers hope it will be even more successful by moving the event up a couple months and away from the other singing contests in the area.


“It’s a fabulous showcase of local talent for a great cause,” she said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”


IF YOU GO
What: Geneva Idol 2008
When: Friday, March 7; dinner at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
Where: Monte Carlo Room, 720 N. Wisconsin St., Elkhorn
Tickets: $30 for dinner and the show; $15 for children 10 and under; $15 for the show only
Information: Call (262) 249-9600, ext. 106 or send an e-mail to genevaidol2008@yahoo.com
CONTEST DETAILS

-- Thirty singers will compete for a $500 cash prize, a recording session at Machine Records in Lake Geneva and airtime on Lake 96.1; the second-place winner will receive $200, and the third-place winner will receive $100


-- All singers must be at least 16 years old


-- Deadline to enter is Friday, Feb. 29


-- For an entry form, call (262) 249-9600, ext. 106 or send an e-mail to genevaidol2008@yahoo.com


2006 Geneva Idol
Name: Megan Pflueger
Age: 20
Residence: Twin Lakes
Geneva Idol veteran: Pflueger has competed in Geneva Idol since its inception in 2004, when she sang Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” She placed every year until capturing the Geneva Idol title in 2006 with “Blame it on Your Cheating Heart,” by Patty Loveless.
Local celebrity: Since she was a little girl, Pflueger has competed in singing contests in the area. Recent appearances include Walworth County Country Idol and Country Thunder. Pflueger is chasing down her dream of becoming a country music star, and the local contests provide her much-needed exposure, she said.
Experience: Pflueger has never taken voice lessons. “I just started singing, and just kept singing everywhere,” she said.
Favorite songstress: Pasty Cline.
Repertoire: While she can go from Patsy Cline to Guns N’ Roses in a snap, Pflueger prefers performing country. “I have a natural twang,” she said. “At least that’s what I’ve been told.”
Real life: Pflueger is a junior at Gateway Technical College in Racine, where she is studying early childhood education. If she doesn’t become a country music sensation, she plans on being an elementary school teacher.
What’s next: Pflueger is auditioning for NBC’s “Nashville Star” on Saturday. “I think this is my shot,” she said.
2007 GENEVA IDOL
Name: Mandy Mendez
Age: 24
Residence: Waukesha
Competitive newbie: The Geneva Idol contest was Mendez’s first. “I don’t feel like my voice is really up for competition,” she said, “but it’s a nice validation that if you were to compete against a number of good singers, you can win.”
Tryouts: Mendez’s Geneva Idol experience inspired her to audition for “American Idol” last August, but she didn’t make it. “I just did it to say I did it,” she said. “All of a sudden you’re 30 and saying, ‘I wish I would have done it.’”
Rock band: Mendez is regularly seen as the lead female vocalist in the cover band Last Kiss. She’s been in bands since she was 17.
Experience: Mendez has been singing since she was a little girl, and she’s had only a few voice lessons.
Favorite thing to perform: “If I had the choice, I’d sing Led Zeppelin,” Mendez said. “But otherwise, I like stuff that gets the crowd.”
Real life: Mendez doesn’t plan on making music a career. “You can only go as far as you can with cover music,” she said. “As long as I keep having fun. I don’t want it to be a job.” By day, she’s a buyer for a Pewaukee power tool company.

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