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And the Superstars are ...

In the biggest audition turnout since its inception, organizers of the Northwest Superstar singing competition have named the 15 finalists who will perform at Whaling Days.

“The quality was the highest we’ve had, 90 percent were really talented,” said Sunny Saunders, event producer. “It was a really hard choice.”

There was plenty of talent to choose from with the line out the door at the start of auditions last Saturday. After six hours of auditions, the 10 adult finalists and five youth finalists were chosen. In the event that a finalist is unable to perform at the competition, two alternates also were chosen. The finalists’ scores were divided up into four categories: Vocal ability, entertainment value, stage presence and appearance. Those auditioning performed a variety of music styles from gospel to original songs.

“There was really good original music,” Saunders said. “It’s amazing to see that many people in our area who write their own music.”

This was the first year, since the event started three years ago, that performers will be allowed to play a guitar or keyboard during the competition. Out of the 10 adult finalists, one will play an instrument and three of the five youth finalists also will be playing their instruments during the competition.

The 15 finalists will give it their all at the anticipated event at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 31, on the Main Stage at Whaling Days. The winner in the adult category will win $750 and a recording session at Meatlocker Recording. The youth winner will receive $250 and a recording session as well.

Last year’s winners were AnneMarie Olson and Katie Webster. Olson’s renditions of Janice Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” and “Neither One of Us” by Gladys Knight and The Pips won her the title in the adult category. Webster won the youth category title with Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” and “On a Mission” by Trick Pony.

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