Cortez is getting idolized

Local singing competition to be held at Blondie's

Patty Simmons, owner of Blondie's Pub and Grub, stands on the stage where Cortez American Idol will take place on Jan. 2. Enlargephoto

Rachel Segura/Cortez Journal

Patty Simmons, owner of Blondie's Pub and Grub, stands on the stage where Cortez American Idol will take place on Jan. 2.

It is impossible to say what makes an "American Idol." It is neither a look or a particular sound. It isn't gender or race. And now, it isn't just for big cities.

Blondie's Pub and Grub is creating its very own Cortez American Idol.

In the tradition of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and other Idol judges, Blondie's will give one local singer a chance to earn prizes, recognition and the local title.

Starting on Jan. 2, Blondie's will hold open auditions at 9 p.m. for anyone in the area who sings, wants to sing or wants to simply have fun. The shower or the inside of a car is not always a rewarding spot for showcasing talent.

The show will try to remain true to the popular television show. Blondie's owner, Patty Simmons will be a judge, along with Wes Bennett, Bradly Sitton and Brandon Sitton. Bennett has a long-time singing act that performs occasionally at Blondie's. And the Sittons help host the weekly karaoke acts on Wednesday nights.

The Cortez variation, hosted by local DJ P.A. Jackson, will follow a similar set up of open auditions. Held on the stage at Blondie's restaurant, participants will have to audition in front of other competing talent and visiting customers. This America Idol is given in the style of karaoke.

During a two-week period, the field will be shaved down to 10 finalists. The third week an elimination of three vocalists will occur, the fourth week another two will be let go and the fifth week another two singers will walk. The final week will consist of three finalists going head-to-head before a final decision is made.

The decision to hold a local American Idol has been bouncing around with Blondie's customers and employees for quite sometime. The Wednesday night karaoke sessions are a favorite among patrons and Simmons sees a following of young singers every week.

"We wanted to make it more fun for those who come out and sing every week," Simmons says. "But the main thing was to get more people out who have singing talent."

Simmons is excited to see what new faces will participate in the event. She has already heard from several people, who aren't regulars, that can't wait to be a part of the show.

The singers will be judged on stage performance and vocal talent. They will get to choose the songs they perform but the final five will be assigned a song by the judges. Simmons said this is to eliminate the last singers in a more challenging way. To really seek out the talent.

Singers shouldn't be too worried. The cranky Simon Cowell will not be in the house, but they can expect similar scenarios.

"We are going to try to follow the show as much as we can," Simmons says.

At the end of the six-week period, prizes will be awarded to the first-place winner and the final seven.

The first-place winner will walk away with a $300 cash prize and the other seven vocalists will receive prizes from local liquor distributors.

The project is still in the works and details are being finalized. Anyone can come and try out to be the first Cortez American Idol.