BTC Starmaker Casting Call Draws A Crowd
More than 100 invited competitors swarmed the Mall at Marathon Saturday for the first casting call of BTC Starmaker Season 3, hoping to wow the judges and earn a chance to go through to The Bahamas’ version of Hollywood, the next round of Starmaker and a place among the first group of finalists in this year’s popular Starmaker series.
At stake was a $10,000 one-year contract as a spokesperson for BTC, prizes, travel and national fame. Outside in the centre of the mall, contestants sang, clapped, crowds rallied round. It was loosen up and warm-up time. Inside the quiet room where the cameras rolled and the judges fought boredom, you could feel the jitters with the opening and closing of every door.
“What’s your name and why do you think you should be the next BTC star?” asked a bass-tone Marlon Johnson, the company’s vice president of brand and communications. Other independent judges were just as tough. “What do you mean you can rap and that’s why you should win,” said another. “We just had 68 people today who rapped. But go ahead, show us what you got.” On the sideline, an observer wondered quietly aloud if Randy Jackson wouldn’t have gone easier on the wannabe stars. In some cases, legs wobbled, and voices warbled, but in few cases did confidence wane. Regardless of what they brought to the room, almost everyone who entered exuded confidence, even if what got them there was a bet with Mom or a challenge from a friend.
Saturday’s try-outs were the first in a series of weekly contests that will continually whittle down the crowds to 16 whose auditions will be televised with the viewing audience getting a chance to vote for their favourite.
“More than 300 people entered the contest this year, a record number,” said Johnson. “This is the third year and Starmaker is growing so fast that every year we nearly double what we did the year before in entries.” Of the 300-plus entries, judges had already narrowed down the first groups and called the top 100 in New Providence to the Saturday try-out at 10 am. Hopefuls lined up way before time with personalities bubbling, smiles dazzling and dreams soaring. They did not have to dance, sing or perform but may if they wish.
“While being gifted in areas such as singing, dancing and playing musical instruments are added bonuses, competitors are not required to perform,” Johnson said. “We are looking for two people between the ages of 13 and 30 who will be the public relations representatives, the personification of BTC, for the remainder of the year so what the judges will be looking for is youth who shine, who are confident, creative and demonstrate personality and poise when they are in front of the camera.”
This is the first year that BTC will have additional casting calls in Abaco and Grand Bahama though Family Island applicants have always been eligible to enter. The casting call in Grand Bahama will be held on Saturday, March 10 and in Abaco the following afternoon. Contestants from those islands are being notified of time and location.
Three weeks after contestants are narrowed down through casting calls, auditions are televised on Wednesdays and Saturdays on ZNS and on the website, BTCStarmaker.com. Like American Idol, BTC Starmaker draws a massive audience. “In fact,” says Johnson, “the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas ranked it second only to their ZNS-TV 13 news casts in popularity.” That popularity is fueled by a high level of audience participation that includes voting rights and the ability to go online to win phones, minutes and other giveaways by answering Starmaker and BTC trivia questions. Answers are related to the show. This year’s Starmaker series starts March 21.
Judges photographer Kovah Duncombe, modelling and etiquette specialist Deborah Geear-Bethell and image consultant and branding specialist Stacia Williams are back for another year of separating the ‘nearly-theres’ from the shining talent. Saturday’s casting call produced some of the 16 who will go on to compete in the 8-week series that wraps up with one junior between the ages of 13 and 17 and one senior between the ages of 18 and 30 walking away with the title and the one-year contract as the next stars of BTC.awards, TV