You don’t need to tune in your television to check out American Idol or The Voice. Instead, you can support one local singer just by purchasing a ticket or casting a vote right here in your own backyard.
Lars Halldin, 12, of Lower Providence Township, is competing in “The Vocalist,” a production by The Media Theatre. After nearly 120 contestants auditioned to be a part of the show, only 40 were chosen to move on, including the soon-to-be seventh grader, Halldin.
“Lars has been working really hard getting ready,” said Halldin’s mother, Heather. Formerly known as “Delco Idol,” the Media Theatre production has grown to allow neighboring counties to participate, as well.
Unlike its similar television shows, The Vocalist will not include anyone being eliminated in the first three weeks.
“For the first three weeks, contestants in ‘The Vocalist’ will receive equal opportunity, recognition and deserved applause,” said the company’s artistic director Jesse Cline.
He hopes that the three weeks gives each singer a chance to develop his or her sound.
“Audiences will actually get to see each contestant grow,” said Cline. “The contestants will feel more at home on the stage, as they have three weeks to do their best without the constant pressure of not returning the following week.”
In addition to judge voting, the contestants will also rely on online votes from their friends, family and community. The votes are tallied throughout the first three weeks, and the singer with the most at the end will get 30 additional points added to the score. A singer in second will get 25, third 20, fourth to tenth 15 and those ranking 11 to 15 will gain an extra 10 points.
Points from the judges, including Cline, will be tallied to determine a Top 25, which will move on to week four. Only 15 will be chosen for the finals.
Cline said he hopes the singers learn through the process, no matter where they fall.
“We also look at this as an educational experience. So, rather than singing one song and leaving the competition, each vocalist has the opportunity to learn a bit more about what it takes to perform in front of an audience on a professional stage,” he said.
Cline, as the one constant judge, has an extra line to add points in a section unique to his ballot called “Individualism.” Cline said it reflects the “connection to the singers each week and his rapport with them following their performances.”
"In getting to know them more than the other judges it seems logical that I would have this extra category,” he said. “There may be a week in which a young singer falters a bit, but I will know what they are capable of and who they are. The Individualism category speaks to the fact that each contestant is unique. Their interests and what is best for them should come first. Each has their own story to tell in their own way."
Halldin will sing as part of The Vocalist Junior show on Sunday nights starting June 13. The section for younger singers was added as part of the 2014 shows, which are all sponsored by Iron Workers Bank.
“One very interesting aspect of this year’s competition is that we have several aspiring singers who started out in the junior version of the contest, but who are now old enough to be in the more mature age group,” said Cline. “It’s nice to have seen them grow up with us and it will be fun to see how well they do in the older age group.”
To cast your vote for Halldin after the July 13 performance, click here and click on “Vote for your favorite Vocalist singer!” in yellow text.
For show information to attend in person, call 610-891-0100 or order tickets online here. Tickets may be purchased for individual shows or for a five-week subscription pack to all included shows. When ordering your ticket, mention Lars Halldin’s name to give him an extra boost to moving into the next round. Each contestant that sells 10 tickets gives an extra point on a judge’s scorecard.
Tickets are $15 per adult or $12 per children for a single-show performance. The first show will be on Sunday, July 13 at 7 p.m. The theater is located at 104 E. State St., Media, Pa.