Saturday, April 28, 2007

Fargo Star!

It's not usually my kind of thing – I've never watched "American Idol." But the local newspaper, The Forum, is trying hard to staple itself to the ongoing national talent-show fad. It created a local version, "Fargo Star." And each week a chunk of the lifestyle section is taken up with online polls asking readers to weigh in before "Idol" airs, then giving the blow-by-blow afterward.

For "Fargo Star," contestants submitted videos of themselves singing, which were placed online and voted on by newspaper readers week by week. The top 10 of the lot sang live at The Venue last night. Jen, Katie, and Ellie were totally hooked; we'd had friends e-mailing with subjects like "Subject: I need your help!!" to gin up votes for their pals. Also, tickets were free. We had to go.

The Venue itself is a pretty nice venue – reminiscent of Washington's famed and fabulous 9:30 club, with a large standing-room-only main floor and a wraparound balcony. Well, the 9:30 club isn't attached to a casino – there's a difference for ya.

I don't expect that Jen and I will be able to catch an actual concert there in the time we have remaining here. (ooo... wait – looks like "Five For Fighting" is playing there next Friday. We may have to work something out... oh, wait, damn it, no, I'm looking at the 9:30 club's Web page, not The Venue's.)

The singers were... OK. The winner, Kallie Frost (right), was a big jump ahead of the others with her version of ABBA's "Mamma Mia."

"I think she's been doing this all her life," Jen says, evidenced partly by the one judge, a Fargo modeling-agency owner, who clearly seemed to go way back with Kallie. She was so poised that we were shocked to find out today in the paper that she's a 15-year-old high school sophomore from across the river in Moorhead.

Kallie won a day in a local recording studio to produce a demo CD, and a trip to next season’s “American Idol” tryouts. The runner-up, who won a $700 microphone (and placed second in the voting largely with the assistance of the vocal mob of friends she had the audience), said as she won that she'd really been hoping for the microphone.

The judges – all local folks (the modeling-agency owner, a musician, and a choreographer) – seemed to be under orders to mimic "Idol" in one unfortunate way by being unnecessarily mean to the contestants. It seemed profoundly un-Fargo. I didn't like it, and neither did the crowd. It really didn't add anything to the proceedings.

Here's the lineup; click on it to see them larger. They're a pretty Fargo-looking group:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fargo Star was awesome! Kallie rocked the house.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Kallie Frost said...

Hey! This is Kallie Frost!!! My mom just sent me the link for this site...very well written. Thank you for your kind words. :) I'm glad you had a blast and maybe you'll see me on American Idol ;)

6:12 PM  

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