The Oregon Karaoke Challenge will be taking over the stage at The Dalles City Park tonight and Saturday, Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, for final competition, and its organizer hopes that a few dreams will be fulfilled that night.
Organizer Eloy Pando of The Dalles is bringing 35 singers to the stage. All-day elimination rounds are started today at City Park, then the finalist performances start at 6 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free and Pando is hoping for a big crowd to enhance the video that will be shown to staff at “The Voice” television show.
“I’m hoping we can move one of our champions straight into ‘The Voice’,” Pando said.
The competition has expanded this year to include the City of Hermiston, which will be sending two finalists to this year’s event. Next year, Coos Bay will be added and Pando hopes to add another Oregon city each year after that. By the time he is finished, he hopes to have 25 small cities involved. He plans to focus on small towns with the idea of bringing metropolitan residents to the small towns for entertainment, rather than the usual vice versa.
“One of the [Hermiston] singers is from Nampa, Idaho,” Pando said. “He heard about the contest through the grape vine. His family are in Hermiston.”
Another singer among the qualifiers is from Tacoma, Wash. He auditioned during the Jammin’ July Street Fest. He’s had other inquiries from as far away as Eureka and Los Angeles, Calif.
Most of the participants in the Oregon Karaoke Challenge dream of hitting it big, Pando said.
“Most are doing it for the exposure,” Pando said.
Pando termed their first foray into Hermiston a big success, drawing more than 75 applicants, from which 25 were chosen to compete at that city’s Ixtapa Restaurant, drawing crowds of up to 200.
“The singers were awesome,” Pando said. “Their talent was amazing.”