published: Friday, February 01, 2013
Re-vamped Heartland Idol returns
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - A new and improved Heartland Idol event awaits fans and is on its way to becoming an even bigger success under the direction of Idol founder Diana Walker and her team of eager volunteers.
After a brief hiatus, a season change, venue move and format revamping, the beloved show is back and ready to thrill residents and visitors.
The biggest change, of course, is the venue. For years, Heartland Idol was held at the downtown Sebring Circle Park. This year the competition will be held in its new home at the Highlands County YMCA.
Heartland Idol held its first press meeting of the season Wednesday afternoon where Walker spilled all the beans about what is to be expected during 2013 Heartland Idol.
"We are working on the layout of the event and how the food and stage area will be set up," Walker said.
Each of the Idol events will be held on the YMCA covered basketball courts on the property. Guests will be allowed to bring in lawn chairs and blankets to accommodate themselves during the shows. Parking will be designated to the softball fields; entry into Idol will be at the court gate entrance at the rear of the facility.
Agero is the continued sponsor and the title sponsor for the 2013 Heartland Idol. The contest format has been changed a little; what remains the same, however, is the categories for contestants.
The Junior Idol division is for contestants ages 12 and younger; Teen Idol contestants must be between the ages of 13 and 17; and Adult Idol contestants are 18 and older.
"We have added a Senior Idol division this year ... We know that sometimes the older contestants may be a little intimidated going up against the younger ones so we want to make a group just for them," Walker said.
The Senior Idol division is for any contestant 55 years or older. The Senior Idol contest will be held later in the season (March 14).
Applications for each division are now being accepted. Application fees are $10 per participant and $5 for senior division contestants. Applications may be picked up at the Keiber Law Office on South Commerce Avenue or downloaded from the Heartland Idol Facebook page. There will be 20 contestants per division so early entries are encouraged.
The lovable and comedic emcee duo, Don Elwell and David Flowers, will return to Idol this year. The two have been a vital part of Idol over the past several years.
Volunteers are needed for set up, take down and many other positions. Volunteer inquiries may be directed to Walker.
Entry forms and registration fees can be turned in until 5:30 p.m. the day of contests. Qualifying rounds will be held where each participant must sing acapella for 90 seconds.
The adult grand prize winner will receive $2,000. Junior Idol and Teen Idol winners will each be awarded $500. Prizes are also to be expected for Senior Idol contestants.
2013 Heartland Idol kicks off on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. This year's event will feature several theme nights including a Mardi Gras, Valentine's Day and Sebring 12 Hours night.
For more information visit the Heartland Idol Facebook Page for all updates and exciting additions to this year's show.
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