MetroStar Top 5 to Begin Two-Week Finale on Monday

On Monday, in one of the most competitive MetroStar competitions to date, five finalists were selected to move on to the two-week finals of the 7th annual MetroStar Talent Challenge. The five finalists, who will go head-to-head the next two Mondays, August 18 and 25, are Joanna Morton Gary, Lindsey Holloway, Leah Jennings, David LaMarr and Kristoffer Lowe. The Top 5, narrowed down from a group of nine semifinalists, are the last singers singing from an initial pool of 48 when the 8-week competition began on July 7.

The jury-and audience-voted competition offers a career-boosting prize package including a fully produced Met Room major engagement and multi-track recording of the live show. During the next two weeks the finalists will perform a mini set including patter, and will be asked to redo one of the eight songs they've performed so far, incorporating jury feedback. The competition's permanent judges include Roy Sander (the chairman), Gretchen Reinhagen, and Joseph Macchia. Eric Michael Gillett, the acclaimed singer, actor and director, is the contest's resident mentor, offering pointers to the performers to help them "up" their games. Tom Gamblin, returning for his fourth season, is the contest's host. MetroStar's resident music director is Tracy Stark.

"What's great about this group is how well they are incorporating jury feedback," Macchia, who is the Metropolitan Room's booking manager, commented. "These singers are listening and growing as they move forward. It's a really exciting group."

Every week four guest judges are brought in to add to the scoring. This week's visiting judges were Tom Toce, KT Sullivan, Kevin Scott Hall and David Noh. Next week's visiting celebrity jurists will be Will Friedwald, Robert Windeler, Amy Beth Williams, Bill Boggs and Marissa Mulder. Performing their civic duty on the night of the finale will be Marieann Meringolo, Steve Ross, Carole Bufford and Stephen Sorokoff.

Past winners have included Anne Steele, Liz Lark Brown, T. Oliver Reid, Marissa Mulder, Billie Roe, and the current MetroStar Lauren Stanford.

Open to singers of all ages, styles and backgrounds who have not played a major engagement at The Metropolitan Room, "MetroStar" encourages performers to present well-rounded stage performances in which creativity, innovation and authenticity are prized over vocal pyrotechnics.

For all the latest "MetroStar Talent Challenge" information, consult the club's Web site at The cover charge is $20, with a two-drink minimum. The Nightlife and Bistro Award-winning Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street, has been keeping kids off the streets and adults from spending too much time watching television since 2006. For reservations call 212/206-0440.

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