LINKLETTER – The local finals for Maritime Idol Season 8 have been completed, and this Sunday the top 12 in the P.E.I. region compete at Linkletter Community Center to advance to the quarter-finals
The Prince County area had 12 competitors start the process, while the Charlottetown area had 10. Seven advanced to the regional final from the west, while five advanced from Charlottetown.
“Summerside has some incredible talent. It’s going to be hard to leave people behind,” said Maritime Idol producer Ron Pomerleau.
“It was a lot of fun. There were a lot of good singers; I would say some of our top caliber of the year, definitely, is going to come from Summerside,” he assessed.
Audience interest seems to support his prediction, as the Linkletter Community Centre was packed for the local final earlier this month.
Pomerleau was pleased with the interest, but had seen nearly as many attend one of the preliminary sessions so he was not surprised.
The range of ability at the local level varies widely, but the contest is no easy feat. Before the local final, which removes the song lyrics displayed on a monitor, two of the west contestants dropped out because they were unprepared.
“They do fail. That’s why we did the last (local) week like that,” Pomerleau acknowledged of the removal of performance crutches.
In the regional final, performers are allowed two songs each. They may repeat songs they have done, as no judges were then involved, but lyrics will not be displayed as an aid.
The regional final will be played out in front of judges Heidi Ellis, the 2007 Maritime Idol, and Island music teacher Hazel St. Amand. Performers may use live music or opt for a recorded instrumental.
The competition will begin at the Linkletter Community Centre at 2 p.m., May 25, and is scheduled to continue until 6 p.m., though Pomerleau cautioned it could end before that.
“It depends on how long it runs,” he advised, noting there will be 24 performances, and the judges critique each performance.
The community club plans to run a canteen during the show, and there will be a 15 to 20-minute intermission at halftime.
Six of the performers from the regional will move on to compete against Bathurst, Miramichi, and Moncton at Parlee Beach on June 14. There are normally 18 contestants during that stage, from the four regional finals. Half of those will move on to the year-end.
Pomerleau said there was a strong possibility that an Islander may end up contending for the title of Maritime Idol this season.
“There’s a couple there, I’ve got my fingers crossed, will be in the year-end,” he admitted.
Pomerleau expects fan interest to be strong for the final. He recognizes that an increased ticket price of $15.00 for adults and $10 for students may affect attendance, but justifies it because the judges are paid for their expertise.
The only prize at this stage is the possibility of moving ahead in the competition, but 50/50 draws are held at all sessions of Maritime Idol, with the Idol portion directed to provide a minimum $2,000 cash prize to the season winner. Second-place finisher will get a minimum of $300, and possibly as much as $1,000, while Pomerleau hopes to provide third place with up to $500.
If more is collected during the preliminary stages, the final prize total will also increase.
“As we get closer to the year-end, the amounts just go up,” he revealed, and the opportunities for finalists just get better.