Wanna win a lunch date with a record exec?

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First Posted: 10/9/2014

The Mall at Steamtown has had its share of negative publicity lately. Earlier this year, the downtown Scranton shopping mall went into foreclosure prior to being sold in a sheriff’s sale to it’s mortgage holder. Even though the once-thriving mall has shown signs of an unclear future, the Mall at Steamtown is marching to the beat of a high-spirited drummer and bringing the community together to have voices of local talent heard loud and clear with the revival of their once-annual talent competition, ‘Steamtown Idol’.

“The talent in NEPA is phenomenal. It takes a lot of gumption to get up on that stage, and I give everyone credit for coming,” said ‘Steamtown Idol’ judge Tina Perez of Carbondale.

Perez, who says her song “Close Your Eyes and Feel the Music” peaked at No. 100 on the Billboard Music charts in 1989, is one of three local judges overseeing contestants during an open-round of auditions that end on Wednesday, Oct. 15.

“We started with a three-week series of open auditions,” said the Mall at Steamtown’s administrative assistant Olivia Musico-Galati.

The mall is encouraging anyone interested in a chance at performing and winning solid prizes to contact guest services at the Mall at Steamtown at 570-343-3400 or show up Wednesday, Oct. 15 prior to the event, which lasts 6 to 8 p.m.

“Contestants selected from the auditions will be invited to our finale inside the mall on Saturday, Oct. 18 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The grand prize winner will receive a $250 mall gift certificate and lunch with a representative from the music industry,” Musico-Galati said.

Among the contestants are hopefuls of all ages, including 13-year old Kaylee Simmons of Nantikoke, who was selected to compete in the finale.

“It’s an honor to have been chosen, especially since I competed against people a lot older than me,” Simmons said.

Branda Sobotka of Lake Ariel was just excited for a chance to perform.

“Singing has always been a passion of mine. I was always singing in every play and talent show growing up. Now that I’m 21, there’s really nowhere for me to perform and practice my passion,” Sobotka said.

For 15-year old Klarissa Cwynar of Scranton, the agenda was related to a good cause. Cwynar, whose cousin committed suicide, competed for a chance to win the mall gift card, which would be donated as a raffle prize for a suicide awareness fundraiser.

Hosted by Fast Freddie from 98.5 KRZ, ‘Steamtown Idol’ is providing free entertainment for people of all ages to enjoy inside the Mall at Steamtown. The final round of auditions is open to the public Wednesday, Oct. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. and the finale will be take place on Saturday, Oct. 18 from noon to 4 p.m.

Will the next big deal in music be discovered in NEPA?

Crazier things have happened…