17 singers, 2 dance acts to compete in talent show

PARKERSBURG – Rookies, nationally touring acts and veteran local musicians will be on the Suddenlink Stage at the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival at 2 p.m. today.

TheNewsCenter and Parkersburg Homecoming Talent Show will feature 19 kids, teens and adults performing.

“Most of the folks are amateurs, and so I think it helps to give folks kind of that everyman opportunity,” said Roger Sheppard, vice president and general manager of TheNewsCenter, which includes the WTAP, FOX Parkersburg, WIYE and My5 television channels. “It’s a massive sound system and just a huge stage, and so I think it really gives them an opportunity to see what it’s like to perform in a major venue.”

Although there are few restrictions on what kind of talent contestants can perform – other than full-fledged bands, which take too much time to set up – most of this year’s entries will be singers, some with prerecorded music, others playing guitar and others a cappella. In the children’s age 6 to 12 category, Tina’s Dancers Trio will perform to “These Boots are Made for Walking,” while Skylar Moore in the teen category will be dancing to “Born This Way.”

“We’ve had rappers…dancers. Of course, we have had folks who’ve played various instruments over the years,” Sheppard said.

The judging panel consists of Gallagher Music owner John Gallagher, whose band Plan B will open for The Guess Who Sunday evening; Don Staats, general manager at Results Radio; and WTAP Marietta Bureau reporter Danielle Staub.

“It’s fun to see the new talent,” said Gallagher, who, like Staats, has been a judge all 10 years the TV station has sponsored the contest.

It can be a little difficult to judge different styles of performance – like song and dance – in relation to one another, Gallagher said. He and the other judges look for the overall talent, as well as factor like the contestant’s appearance and rapport with the audience.

“There’s some that look like they’ve been on stage 100 times and others that look like they’re scared to death,” Gallagher said.

The first-place winner in each category will receive $100 and a trophy, while second- and third-place finishers will receive $50 and $25, respectively.