Friday, February 10, 2012

review - LA's Next Great Stage Star 2012: Finale

On Sunday February 12 LA's Next Great Stage Star brought its annual six-week singing competition to a pulsating exciting conclusion @ Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's. Twenty contestants who began on Sunday January 8 performed, and 14 judges then narrowed the group to five finalists. Not an easy task, as this year's contestants were all immensely talented vocalists who gave their all to every single performance! Once the five finalists were announced, each performed one more time in order for the judges to pick a winner. Lovely Chelsea Emma Franko from Apple Valley took the top prize. In second place is Carrie St. Louis. Tyson Pyles and David Michael Laffey tied for third place, and in fourth, sweet, petite Justine Huxley. Audience had assigned points to the contestants for the first five weeks and the judges weighted these results as part of the final voting.

five finalists: chelsea emma franko (winner), tyson pyles (3rd), carrie st. louis (2nd), david michael laffey (tied for 3rd), justine huxley (4th)

Highlights of the afternoon included: from Carrie St. Louis, the eleventh hour delight "Disneyland", "Once Before I Go" by Laffey, a thrilling "The Fire Within Me" from Franko, who dynamically opened the show and set the bar way high for everyone else to follow, a rousing "Sing Happy" from Huxley and the rarely sung "The Lady Must Be Mad" from Pyles. In the final round Laffey soared with "Use What You Got" from The Life, usually sung by a female, and Franko hit the mark with Streisand's "Piece of Sky" from Yentl. James Lent once again served as musical director and Michael Sterling the  affable host. When judge Tony winner Sammy Williams was announced, Sterling followed it with a film clip of his Tony win and speech for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for A Chorus Line from the 1975 Tony Awards, which proved inspirational to one and all, especially to the twenty contestants waiting in the wings to go on. Verbal comments from the judges about each performance were eliminated this time to keep the afternoon rolling along at top speed, and indeed it did. A very enjoyable afternoon that came in under three hours!

me with winner chelsea emma franko

According to strict contest rules, the winner receives $1000 in cash, and all 5 finalists receive their own gig @ Sterling's and guaranteed auditions for top casting directors, agents and musical theatres in LA and for Glenn Casale @ Music Circus in Sacramento. 

This was a great finale ending six-weeks of LA's annual one-of-a-kind entertainment.

A follow-up article spotlighting the five winners may be found above!

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