PRESCOTT - Fans of karaoke should be in their element next week.
The fifth annual Prescott Idol finale will feature a larger venue, more than 20 contestants and performances by previous winners.
Set for Thursday, Sept. 4, the finale will take place at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center - a change from previous years, when the downtown Elks Opera House served as the location.
Prescott Special Events Manager Becky Karcie says the change was made to allow more people to attend the popular event.
"It's a larger venue," she said of the Yavapai College site. "We sell out every year (at the Elks)."
With about 1,100 seats, the Yavapai College facility will more than double the Elks' 500 seats. In addition, the college campus offers plenty of parking, Karcie said.
Although the city has tried in the past to televise the finale program live on a screen at the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, the weather has sometimes interfered.
"With the inclement weather, that gets really iffy and costly," Karcie said.
The finale competition will pit winners from the weekly competitions against one another for the title of Prescott 2014 Idol.
Most every Thursday night over the past three months, aspiring singers have gathered at the Yavapai County Courthouse plaza to compete. The top two finishers are asked to come back for the finale. Karcie said she expects 20 to 25 participants to sing Thursday night.
"We have had fabulous participation," Karcie said. "Almost every night, we've had 18 to 23 singers."
Plenty of fans have come out as well.
"Some nights, we have easily 1,200 people there," she said. "It's fun to see the different talent we have."
A complete list of finalists is expected to be posted on the websites of the sponsoring radio stations (rewindmymusic.com, koltcountry.com, 967thewolf.com, bigtalkerradio.com) by 5 p.m. today.
Finale winners will come away with a number of prizes. Karcie said the first-place finisher will receive more than $1,000 in prizes and gift certificates, with the second- and third-place winners getting prizes valued at $500 and $250, respectively.
The competition will be judged by a panel of music experts from area colleges, high schools and vocal coaches.
Along with the contestants, the finale will feature performances by Prescott Idol winners from previous years. Past winners Drew Ryniewicz, Erin Conway and Ally Owens are all scheduled to perform. The finale is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Concessions of wine, beer and snacks will be available. Tickets are $5, and are available by calling 928-776-2000, online at ycpac.com or by stopping by the events center box office, 1100 E. Sheldon St. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
The event is sponsored by the City of Prescott, Tim's Auto Group and Kolt Country, The Wolf, Rewind and Big Talker radio personalities.
The Prescott Idol competition is a part of the city's Summer Concert Series, which has brought more than 30 bands and a dozen movies to the courthouse plaza. The plaza entertainment will continue through next week, ending on Sept. 6. (Details at www.cityofprescott.net.)
- Story by Cindy Barks, photos by Matt Hinshaw, The Daily Courier