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The first date to audition for the 2018 West Texas Talent Search was held this past Saturday, June 2nd, in Snyder and the first two semi-finalists, a singer from Snyder named Alex Whitaker and female Big Spring comic Adrienne Green, were selected to continue on to the next portion of the competition.

The West Texas Talent Search began 10 years ago and is a 3-step competition that begins at the preliminary level with auditions across West Texas over the summer, then moves on to the semi-finals and finals will be held the weekend of September 1st.

Daniel Ryan, Executive Director for West Texas Talent, explained that this competition takes place over the course of a few months because he and another mentor work with contestants to try to make them better as they continue through the competition.

This year West Texas Talent will be awarding up to $5000 in cash and prizes, including:

* (2) tickets to anywhere Southwest Airlines Flies,
* (2) tickets to see Cher in Las Vegas Friday Nov 9th, and 
* a $500 Gift Card to Musician's Friend.

Over the years, competitors have ranged from singers, dancers, and comics to contortionists. All ages are welcomed, 17 and under require parent’s consent to enter. The competition is split up into different categories:

* Child Performer Age 14 and Below

* Original Performance Based on the theme "World without Art"

* Student Performer Age 15 to 23

* Adult Performer Age 24 and Up

Entry fee to compete in just the original portion is $10, but to compete for Grand Prize, Fan Favorite, and Judge's Choice entry fee is $25, and the final day to enter is July 20th, 2018.

When asked what a judge looks for in the preliminaries in order to move a contestant on to the semi-finals, Ryan stated, “In the first round I’m looking for someone that I want to see again. [Someone] that excites me, [and] that I see potential in, and [has] commitment.”

“Sometimes it’s easier to work with one who really wants it and has a little bit of spark but may not be all that polished than someone who is polished but isn’t that committed. I’m really looking for a sense of commitment in somebody that I want to work with who excites me.”

He went on to say that there are a lot of people in the area who believe that they are talented but they may also lack the sense of commitment to put in the work it takes to grow as a performer, and those are not the kind of people that he wants to work with.

The next auditions will be held on: June 16th in Lubbock at the MCM Elegante Hotel, July 14th in Odessa at the MCM Elegante Hotel, and July 21st in downtown Midland at the Doubletree Hotel; all preliminaries begin at 2 PM. Ryan noted that because the competition originates in Odessa, a lot of the contestants choose to audition at the Odessa and Midland locations. He did say that if there were at least 10 people from Big Spring who entered the competition, he would pick a date to hold auditions in Big Spring.


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