Ox Roast Idol contest expands

“More” is the word that best describes what’s different about this year’s West Jefferson Ox Roast Idol contest—more prize money, more seating for spectators, more chances to sing.

The contest, which debuted at last year’s West Jefferson Ox Roast festival, is open to singers ages 14 and older. All contestants must be Madison County residents. Applications are due by Aug. 21.

Required preliminary auditions (without music) are set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 25 at Garrette Park in West Jefferson. Thirty contestants will be chosen to compete on stage (with their own music CDs) during the Ox Roast. Judges will narrow the field each night. Performances are set for 8 to 11 p.m. Sept. 1-2 and 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 3.

Last year’s inaugural contest was such a hit with performers and spectators that organizers have expanded its scope. Instead of one winner, this year there will be three. As was the case last year, the first-place finisher will receive $1,000 in cash and 10 hours of free recording time at Paul Pollard Productions in Chillicothe. Second-place will receive $500 in cash; third place will get $250.

The 2006 event drew standing-room-only crowds; the 750-seat capacity of the bleachers just wasn’t enough. This year, twice as much bleacher seating will be available, plus organizers are encouraging spectators to bring their own lawn chairs.

Two other new features of the 2007 Idol event are new judges and a separate kids’ karaoke contest.

“We have professional judges coming from Ohio State, Capital University and BalletMet,” said Joe Fox, Ox Roast Idol emcee. “They will be from outside the county and will be familiar with a wide range of music. It’s another way of taking the contest to the next level.”

Last year, guest judges included local musicians and village officials.

The addition of a kids’ karaoke contest should whet the appetites of the county’s younger songbirds.

“We had a lot of people inquiring last year about young kids singing in the contest,” said Idol coordinator Cory Coburn. The interested parties were under the age requirement. “So, this year, we have a kids’ karaoke competition for ages 7 to 13.”

The kids’ karaoke contest will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 2 during the Ox Roast. No auditions will be held. Contestants must bring their own CDs. Where Eagles Fly out of Grove City will provide the karaoke service. The top prize is $100; second gets $50.

From 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 1, Robert Kurtz, last year’s Ox Roast Idol winner, will perform songs from the album he created with the recording time he won. That same night, he will open the Idol contest by singing one of his songs. The tracks on his CD, “Believe,” represent a variety of music styles. Kurtz most recently promoted his CD and the Idol contest at a performance at the Madison County Fair.

Sponsors for the 2007 Idol Contest are Michelle Anders of Real Living Anders & Associates, Todd Stage of R.C. Barry, and Dr. Scott Furgerson.

For applications, rules and information, go to www.westjeffoxroast.com or call 614-879-8818.

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