Victoria talent contests heat up
Two productions are taking place around the same time. What’s up?
When it comes to talent contests, things are heating up in Victoria. And not just under the spotlights.
On Thursday night, Victoria Idol will stage its grand finale for 12 finalists at the Royal Theatre. And then, on Jan. 21, Vancouver Island’s Got Talent will mount its grand finale, also for 12 finalists, at Alix Goolden Hall.
Were you aware there are two high-profile talent contests in our town? And it appears a bit of friction has broken out between the two.
Elaine Baglo is the new producer of Victoria Idol, now in its sixth season. She’s less than thrilled at the arrival of Vancouver Island’s Got Talent, a new venture produced by Maria Manna.
It does seem a tad odd. How come there are two high-profile talent contests happening at the same time in what is — let’s face it — a relatively small city?
“That’s a very good question,” says Baglo, “and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that, too ... She [Manna] is in direct competition.”
To make matters more complicated, Manna, a jazz singer, was the producer of Victoria Idol last season. She says she moved on to found Vancouver Island’s Got Talent because of her interest in a talent contest with a broader scope.
Manna doesn’t see the two contests as being in direct competition for sponsors and contestants. They’re different, she says. Vancouver Island’s Got Talent welcomes any sort of talent, while Victoria Idol’s focus is music.
“The singing thing’s been done with Victoria Idol,” Manna says. “I wanted to see if there were dancers and musicians and jugglers. At one point, we did have a juggler.”
Back to Baglo. She says at one point, someone contacted Victoria Idol’s sponsors to tell them Victoria Idol was cancelled. And she says someone has been ripping down Victoria Idol posters.
Manna says no one from her camp contacted Victoria Idol sponsors or tore down posters.
Manna says that, after hatching the concept for Vancouver Island’s Got Talent last January, she contacted Baglo about a meeting. She wanted to ensure the two contests did not clash. But Baglo declined to have the discussion, according to Manna.
Manna adds: “We’re both fundraisers trying to raise money. I’m coming from a such a good place.”
Certainly, each talent show raises funds for an excellent cause. Proceeds from Vancouver Island’s Got Talent go to the Maria Manna Bursary Fund, assisting children who want to study music at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Proceeds from Victoria Idol go to PEERS, a non-profit society providing support and education for sex-trade workers.
Last year, Victoria Idol raised $20,000 for PEERS, a goal Baglo hopes will be topped in 2011. Meanwhile, Manna hopes her event will raise $20,000 for the bursary fund.
In the meantime, the PEERS organization has officially distanced itself from any ill-feelings that might have cropped up between the contest organizers.
PEERS’s executive director, Marcela Mrnka, does acknowledge there has been a back-and-forth between Baglo and Manna reflecting a “personality conflict” between the two.
“We’re grateful to both women and both events,” she says, adding that PEERS wishes only the best for Vancouver Island’s Got Talent.
If there’s one thing that’s indisputable, it’s that both talent shows are worth supporting and attending. Here are the details. Victoria
Idol: The final contest takes place at 7 p.m., Jan. 13, at the Royal Theatre. The $20 tickets can be purchased by phoning 250-386-6121.
The singers will be accompanied by Sugarfix. There will be a special guest appearance by Aerosmith Rocks.
The judges include Bill Henderson from Chilliwack and Roy Roper from Stonebolt. The contestants are: Garrett Chase, Kaya Hunter, Megan Johns, Sarah Williams, Sydney Needham, Erin Carson, Jody Frocklage, Maggie Lea Rud, Sarah Sedlock, Sierra Kachan, Nicole Potvin and Ashley Armstrong.
For more information, go to www.victoriaidol.com
Vancouver Island’s Got Talent:
The final contest is at 7 p.m., Jan. 21, at Alix Goolden Hall, Victoria Conservatory of Music. The $12 tickets can be purchased at all Thrifty Foods locations or at the door (cash only). Judges include B.J. Cook, Johnny Bagpipes and Jeff Neill from Streetheart. The contestants are: Adeesha and Michaela, Formally Casual, David Gilroy, Brice Morrison, Sky Mundell, Karissa Sovdi, Jordie Scaife, Parker Schmidt, Dylan Smith, Stacy Farkas, Michael Lukaszczyk and Brooke Turner.
For more information, go to www.vancouverislandsgottalent.com
It’s hard to choose: Victoria Idol and Vancouver Island’s Got Talent both raise funds for excellent causes.