Colgate Country Showdown is Saturday

Published 4:59 pm Thursday, September 13, 2007

The road to the 26th annual Colgate Country Showdown is this Saturday at the Picayune Memorial High School Auditorium.

Nine contestants from South Mississippi and Louisiana will compete in Saturday’s competition in the hopes of advancing to the state finals at the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Other prizes for the local winner will include a family vacation courtesy of WRJW, $250 cash, a trophy, along with prizes from various sponsors of the Showdown.

The local competition is sponsored by radio station WRJW, which has been participating in the Showdown for 16 years, said WRJW employee Denise Wilson.

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Individuals from all over the WRJW listening area sent in cassettes and CD’s of their singing talents to the radio station, in a preliminary round in preparation for Saturday night.

“It was a CD elimination round. We had a panel of judges, I think there were about 10 judges, who came in and listened to the submitted CD’s and then they chose finalists to participate in the live performance,” Wilson said. She said 12 finalists were originally chosen, but three of the finalists also were finalists in other markets, and could not perform at the Saturday event.

There is no age limit for the competition, Wilson said, saying that one of the contestants is a seventh grader.

Once the state competition is completed, the winner will advance to one of five regionals. The southeast regional, of which Mississippi is a part, will be held in Thomaston, Ga.

The winners of the regional competition will advance to the national competition, which is nationally televised and is usually held in venues such as the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn.; the Grand Palace Theatre in Branson, Mo.; the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.; Epcot Center at Walt Disney World, Fla., and Universal Studios in Fla. The national winner receives the national title and a grand prize of $100,000. In 2002, Ashley Thompson, a winner from WBBN radio station in Laurel, competed in and won the national competition.

The nine finalists for Saturday’s competition include:

— Jennifer Drennan of Slidell, La.

— Jennifer Farmer of Picayune.

— Kayla Woodson of Waggaman, La.

— Kustom Kountry of McHenry.

— Next Generation of Kiln.

— Niki Nix of Pearl.

— Sarah Unbehagen of Carriere.

— Scott Niolet of Pass Christian.

— Wing and a Prayer of Gulfport.