Talent in the tri-state
Imagine spending two days in a professional studio cutting a demo CD, followed by a photo shoot to create a custom cover for the new album. Or picture taking part in a mock Broadway rehearsal that includes staging, dancing and playing music, taught by a performer of a show.
These are typical activities for celebrities and Broadway stars in our society and they enable them to put out a new song for the listeners or perform a breathtaking rendition for the audience. This is also the opportunity one student from North Shore High School will receive if she wins the MSG Varsity’s Talent Show this season.
The MSG Varsity Talent Show, which returns for its second season, features 32 contestants who are individual vocalists and members of vocal or dance ensembles, and there will be one champion crowned in each category. The television program is very American Idol-esque, as after each week’s show, viewers log on to MSG Varsity’s website—msgvarsity.com—and vote for their favorite contestant, who then moves on to the next round and becomes one step closer to a once in a lifetime experience for an aspiring performer.
The competition was filmed at SUNY-Old Westbury’s Maguire Theater, where the stage was transformed into a television set, fully equipped with a tiered stage, six cameras and more lights than American Idol…literally. Plus, MSG Varsity has one of its two top-of-the-line, high-definition television trucks that, “came off the assembly-line a year and a half ago,” helping out.
Adding to the Idol theme is host Jared Cotter, himself a semifinalist on season six of American Idol, which was a, “crash course on performing” for him. He had, “never thought about hosting,” but after being voting off of Idol, Fuse TV offered him a hosting job in 2008. Without any knowledge of how to host, he accepted, and began his new career.
On the side, however, he happened to be writing a few radio hits, such as “Down,” “Do You Remember,” and “2012,” all performed by Jay Sean. These songs have sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
In addition to hosting the MSG Varsity Talent Show, he also hosts The Challenge, a trivia show for schools in the tri-state area. This job is indeed, “a challenge” for Cotter.
“I have to say a lot of words I’ve never seen,” Cotter chuckled. “It’s very different from hosting the Talent Show and it keeps my mind working.”
Besides Cotter, there is another similarity between MSG Varsity’s Talent Show and The Challenge: students from North Shore High School which is located in Glen Head, NY, are featured on both.
Lisa Vetrone, a current senior at North Shore, recently performed three classic songs at the Talent Show as she sat behind the piano.
After “pouring her heart and soul” into Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds,” Elvis Presley’s “Return to Sender,” and the big-time classic “Wild Thing,” Vetrone confessed that she likes to sing music from before her time.
“That’s where music comes from,” she said backstage. “And it’s what I grew up with.”
Playing the piano helps her to originally arrange songs that have been redone a myriad of times. However, with her talent, she will successfully leave some new impressions of timeless songs. Although Vetrone has never competed in any other competition before MSG Varsity’s Talent Show, this experience has made her, “want to do this for the rest of her life.”
Backstage, there are words made out of tape that read, “G-LUCK!” and “TALENT” with an arrow pointing towards the stage. Talent certainly did approach that stage, and now it’s coming to your television. As part of the community, it’s our job to help these motivated teenagers do “this” for the rest of their lives by tuning in Sunday, April 15 at 8 p.m. on MSG Varsity (Cablevision’s iO TV Channel 14) to watch the performances, and then logging on to msgvarsity.com to vote for our favorite contestant.
The only way Lisa can have the chance to win is for you to vote! So it’s up to the viewers to give one person a day in the life of a celebrity singer!
PICTURED: North Shore students Breanna DiMaio and Alana Weisman with MSG Varsity Talent Show contestant Lisa Vetrone.