Set to kick off tonight, Feb. 26, on the Riverview High School stage, is another year of Riverview Idol competition, with 25 students vying to take home the seventh-year crown.
Advancing through audition from a field of 40 to 45 contestants, "all 25 students will sing [tonight], and each audience member will get one ballot on which they will circle 10 names."
The singers with the most votes will advance to the second round of competition — the "Top 10 Round" — March 5 at the high school. The third, and final round, will be held the Tuesday after spring break, March 19, also at Riverview High.
Show time each round is 7 p.m., with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets each night cost $5.
Jeremy Rosado of Valrico, a Top 13 finisher in the 2012 American Idol contest, is set to performand judge at the final round of Riverview Idol competition. Rosado will replace Kevin Joyner, who will sit on the judge's panel for the prior two nights of competition, along with Heather Kreuger, who works at the Straz Center and with Busch Gardens entertainment; and Samantha Leigh, named FOX's Tampa Bay Idol in 2009.
In the first round of competition, the contestants can sing any song they want for up to three minutes, Stewart said. After the voting, the ballots will be tabulated, and the results announced the next day at school.
Then, the Top 10 finishers will be "paired into duets randomly, which means a country girl could end up with a rhythm-and-blues guy," Stewart said. "They'll have to make it work."
At the second round of competition on Tuesday, March 5, the duets will be sung, as well as a solo song of choice, before the panel of judges. Audience members again will be given ballots to cast their selections — this time, for the Top 5 finalists — and each judge, too, will receive a ballot for voting.
Then, at round three, the Top 5 contestants will take to the stage for the first half of the night's entertainment, March 19. They will sing two songs each, this time accompanying themselves any way they want. "They can play the piano, play the guitar or sing in front of a gospel gospel band," Stewart said.
During the second half of the night's show, while they votes are being tabluated, Rosado will take to the stage himself.
"I was a big follower of his last year on American Idol," Stewart said. "I like his commitment to the text of what he sings," Stewart said, about Rosado's voice and performances. "He sings completely from his heart and he has a very soulful voice."
Proceeds from the night's event will benefit the Riverview High School chorus. A portion will benefit as well the school's television production group, which will film footage of the event to be displayed as well at the final round of competition.
The chorus will used the money to help pay the way to state competition. Ten classical soloists, five student conductors and the schools' Vision show choir qualified at district competition earlier this month at Steinbrenner High School to advance to state competition at Seminole State College in Sanford, Stewart said.
As for the Riverview Idol talent on display, Stewart said members of the Greater Brandon and Riverview communities "are going to be exposed to some remarkable talent in our local high schools that they wouldn't even know existed there."
Past Riverview Idol Winners
2013 Riverview Idol Top 25 Contestants