Contestants vie to sing anthem at Tempe event - East Valley Tribune: News

Contestants vie to sing anthem at Tempe event

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Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2008 7:13 pm | Updated: 11:53 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

For Tempe resident Melissa Homiski, singing to a packed house isn't cause for panic. Homiski, 25, knew she was destined for stardom at the age of 3, where her performance of "The Greatest Love of All" was captured on home video.

SLIDESHOW: Star Spangled Idol

For Tempe resident Melissa Homiski, singing to a packed house isn't cause for panic. Homiski, 25, knew she was destined for stardom at the age of 3, where her performance of "The Greatest Love of All" was captured on home video.

SLIDESHOW: Star Spangled Idol

Homiski is one of the approximately 70 Valley residents vying for a chance to sing the national anthem in front of 40,000 to 50,000 people for Tempe's July 4 Tempe Town Lake Festival.

The Star Spangled Idol auditions, which began Saturday at 10 a.m. at Tempe Marketplace, showcased the singing talents of people of all ages and singing abilities. The contestants were allowed to sing any 30-second portion of the national anthem of their choosing, without the help of music.

Event producer Judi Yates was surprised by the large audition turnout and said her group, the Kiwanis Club of Tempe, will award the winner four free VIP tickets to the July 4 festival, as well as the chance to sing for the crowd.

Saturday's auditions will be narrowed down to 10 finalists, nine chosen by a panel of judges and one by online "people's choice" voting.

The finalists will appear on the festival's Web site, www.Tempe4th.com, by Tuesday and will perform again June 25 at Tempe Marketplace to determine the winner.

At that time, the finalists must perform the whole song from memory.

A champion will then be chosen by a judging panel, and the Web site will list the winner after June 25.

The show will broadcast live on radio station KMXP (96.9 FM) for those who can't make the show, as well as those who are too far from the stage to hear.

"If you're tailgating somewhere, you can turn on your radio and get the whole effect," Yates said.

Rachel Enriquez of Mesa and fiance Jesse Horman came to watch Rachel's sister, Sheila Enriquez, try out for the competition.

"She's been singing for a long time," Rachel said, "But she's never performed for anything like this."

Sergio Manzo, 16, has performed the national anthem several times, including at a basketball game for his school, Dobson High in Mesa.

"All these people are here for the same thing," Manzo said, "It's funny that we all speak the same language."

Manzo memorized Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" as a kindergarten student, and his teacher recognized his flair for performance.

"Music isn't my anti-drug," Manzo said, "It is my drug."

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