48 solo singers are competing in the fifth annual "MetroStar Talent Challenge" at The Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street. The seven-week, jury-and audience-voted competition completes three weeks of trials next Monday July 23 (showtime at 7pm), after which the contest will announce the Top 18 contestants who will advance to the next round.
MetroStar, which offers a career-boosting package of prizes and professional encouragements worth over $10,000, is open to performers of all ages and backgrounds who have not played a major engagement at The Metropolitan Room. The winner – the 2011 MetroStar is Marissa Mulder – receives a fully produced, primetime major engagement at the Metropolitan Room as well as a live, multi-track professional recording of the show. The runner-ups, who open for the winner on alternating nights, receive multi-track recordings of their sets.
This year's roster of rotating guest judges includes notable actors and singers, journalists and industry leaders. Among the media personalities and industry figures are David Noh, Adam Feldman, Alix Cohen, Frank Dain, Will Friedwald, Sandi Durell, Scott Siegel, Jamie deRoy and Arthur Shafman. The actor/singers include KT Sullivan, Karen Oberlin, Gregory Generet, Terese Genecco, Marni Nixon, and T. Oliver Reid, who was the 2010 MetroStar. The contest's four permanent judges are critics Roy Sander (the chairman) and Rob Lester; singer Tanya Holt (who is the Metropolitan Room's booking manager), and the actor-singer, director and vocal coach Eric Michael Gillett.
This year's schedule includes the Quarter Finals on August 6, in which the top 10 singers perform two songs apiece, including this year's "theme choice," which asks the contestants to perform a song written by a songwriter or associated with a singer whose work deeply influenced or inspired them. For the semi-finals on August 13, the seven remaining contestants will sing two new songs, plus the "common song." This year each contestant chooses between two standards, each about reuniting after a separation – "I'll See You Again" or "We'll Be Together Again." The contest's finale is on August 20.
Tom Gamblin is the contest's onstage host for the third consecutive season. The contest's resident music director is MAC Award-winning Tracy Stark.
MetroStar encourages singers across a spectrum of styles and from any age bracket to present well-rounded stage performances in which creativity, innovation and authenticity are prized over vocal pyrotechnics.
To check out the talent roster for the 2012 "MetroStar Talent Challenge" visit www.metropolitanroom.com The shows, on consecutive Mondays, are all at 7pm. The cover charge for all shows is $20, with a two-drink minimum. Rated "Best of New York" by New York Magazine, the Nightlife and Bistro Award-winning Metropolitan Room is at 34 West 22nd Street. For reservations call212/206-0440.