BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — DANVERS — One of 10 Bay State singers could be the next Danvers Idol after preliminaries were held on Saturday.
The finals, which are open to the public, are scheduled during Danvers Family Festival on Friday, June 28, at 7 p.m., in the newly renovated Danvers High School auditorium.
The winner of the contest will pocket a $500 grand prize, plus the chance to wow the crowd at the July 3 Fireworks Festival in Plains Park.
The sixth-annual singing contest held its preliminary round at the Danvers Community Access Television studio on Elm Street in what master of ceremonies Gardner Trask said was “absolutely the most competitive year” of the contest.
“We had a fantastic day,” said Trask, a member of the Danvers Family Festival board and a selectman. “We had almost 40 top-notch performers who really blew all the judges away.” Trask said it was tough for the judges to decide whom to take to the finals. It was also the most contestants to perform in the preliminaries in the history of the contest.
This year’s finalists are Alexandra Valenti of Manchester, Brittany Hill of Milford, Eben Bein of Somerville, Greg Knight of Dorchester, Isaac Willnow of Hamilton, Jilly Martin of Chelmsford, Katie Donnelly of Beverly, Kerrin Mullen of Merrimac, Olivia Wendel of Lexington and Philip Pereira of Lynn.
One of the judges for the preliminaries, Amy Giammarco-Moquin of Peabody, is herself a Danvers Idol winner from 2010.
“We had a blast,” said Giammarco-Moquin about being a judge with Stephanie Parsons of Peabody and Ashley Johnson of Danvers. “We were completely blown away from the number of really good people that came in.”
Giammarco-Moquin recalled that the contest was not as big when she competed three years ago. There were six finalists then. The large field made picking finalists no easy task.
“There were so many people to make a case for, it was difficult,” Giammarco-Moquin said.
The 10 finalists will square off in front of a panel of judges that include Karen Nascembeni, the director of corporate and community relations for North Shore Music Theatre and Theatre by the Sea; musical artist Tom Page of Decibel Architects; Jacyn Tremblay of the Boston pop and R&B female vocal group Jada; and Erika Van Pelt, an “American Idol” top-10 finalist from season 11 of the show. Van Pelt plans to debut music from her new CD, which is being released this fall.
During the finals, the audience will have a say in determining the top three contestants, and the four judges will pick the next Danvers Idol. The third-place finisher will be awarded $100, the second-place finisher $150, and the winner will get $500.
Giammarco-Moquin said the audience is in for a treat because there will be a broad range of singing genres on stage that evening.
Trask thanked Danvers Community Access Television staff for handling the production of the show and Danvers Family Festival volunteers for helping out. The preliminaries will be aired on DCAT and be available in the “Video on Demand” section of the website, www.Danverstv.org.
For more information on the contest and Danvers Family Festival, visit www.DanversFamilyFestival.com.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.