He belted it

Shantez Bell of New Bern belts out a song last year during the “American Idol” casting call at Mac Daddy’s in Cape Carteret, which will host auditions again this year Friday, Aug. 16. (Dylan Ray photo)

Could America’s next big singing sensation live in Carteret County?

For the second year in a row, WCTI News Channel 12 will host “ENC Idol” at Mac Daddy’s at Cape Carteret, and singing sensations could have the opportunity to audition in front of judges for ABC’s “American Idol” Sunday, Sept. 1 in Raleigh.

Mac Daddy’s was the site for auditions last year, and when ABC approached the organization to host the casting call again this year, Mac Daddy’s staff jumped at the opportunity.

“It was a great success last year, and we definitely wanted to do it again this year,” Mac Daddy’s General Manager Tracy Gillikin said. “It’s something for the community.”

“ENC Idol” auditions are set for Friday, Aug. 16. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and auditions run from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Those who want to participate will be able to register at the front door and wait inside to enjoy the facility, relax, play games and get a bite to eat before they audition.

Those who come out for auditions must be at least 15 years old.

The first 200 people to register will be seen by a panel of local celebrities, including Kendrick from Hot 99.5, Brian Stauffer and Amy Kay from the morning show on V103.3, country singer Bryan Mayer, professional musician Justin Castellano and Lisa Smith-Perri, a pianist, singer, music director and the general manager and executive director of the West Carteret Water Corp.

After the panel hears the performance, the judges will grade the contestants on vocal talent and overall performance. The highest rated vocalists will receive “Front of the Line” passes to the open call auditions Sept. 1.

Last year’s audition process proved to be popular as 140 possible superstars gathered at the entertainment center in Cape Carteret to showcase their talents.

The contest was open up to residents between the ages of 15-28 from 15 different counties, including Carteret.

This year, the contest will be open to performers from Beaufort, Bertie, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Onslow, Pamlico, Pitt, Tyrell and Washington counties.

Judging for the contest will be based 50% on vocal talent, 25% on appearance and 25% on overall performance.

Each contestant will have 60 seconds to perform, but has to sing for at least 30 of those seconds.

During last year’s auditions, Carteret County’s own Mary Mikels, 21, of Raleigh, who had a second home in Beaufort, was one of the five winners chosen during the casting call.

Ms. Mikels, a blind performer, auditioned with an Italian opera piece, “O’ Mio Babbino caro,” by Giacamo Puccini, who died in 1924.

She ultimately got to sing three songs in front of judges in Charlotte, but didn’t make it to the next round of the competition in Atlanta, Ga.

For more information about the casting call, check out Mac Daddy’s Facebook page or call 252-393-6565.

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