Thursday, July 23, 2015


In an amazing twist following week three of The Media Theatre's Wednesday night "Vocalist" competition, none of the contestants were eliminated heading into the Semi-Finals.

It was a historic first for the contest, currently having its 10th season. 

The past two years has seen no eliminations taking place at all during the first three weeks in order to give each competitor an opportunity to hone their craft in front of a live audience. Three weeks of votes from the guest judges, Artistic Director Jesse Cline, and public ballots are accumulated and added to see who gets cut prior to week four's semi-finals.

But not this summer. All of the contestants will be returning for week four because, as Cline stated during the surprise announcement, "The voting is simply too close to call right now and everyone gets a chance to return for one more week." The Semi-Final scores will be added to the first three weeks, and eliminations will be made prior to the Finals.
The 2015 Vocalist contestants. (Click on pic to enlarge)
All will head into the semi-finals,
which was originally to be culled down to 20.
They are, from left back row:
Abby Pancoast, Rhiannon Charney, Danielle Lachall, Chesroleeysia Bobb, Skylar Shields, Julia Degruchy, Jacob Mergott, Kaelyn Henry, Troy Gartner, Emma Smith, Aiden Everly, Francesca Venezia, Charle Gonzalez, Amelia Dubendorf,
Maggie Kennedy.
Front row: Erin Lynch, Nicolle Riviello, Victoria D'Ascenzo, Hope Smalley, Caroline Adams, Grace Atherholt, Paul Mariani III, Camille Mola, and Robert Rinaldo. 

It was easy to see why the votes are close as week three brought one talented performer after another onto the stage. The show--remember, it is a show for the audience while being a contest for the singers--started off with four pop songs. As the night progressed, however, emotional music theatre filled the air as well as a few country songs.

The "Vocalist" contestants, ages 14-24, are all trying their best and singing their hearts out. Some are in the competition to win, while others admittedly enjoy the performance opportunity. But none of them would turn down the $1500 cash prize which will eventually go to the 2015 "Vocalist" winner.

Cline filled out his ballot as usual, sitting on stage left and chatting with each vocalist after their performance. He was joined by guest judges Eric Golden, from sponsor Iron Workers Bank, and Scott Kinka of Evolve IP. 
The two guest judges during week three--Eric Golden of Iron Workers Bank and Scott Kinka of Evolve IP

 There were a few lighthearted moments as emcee Bill Vargus joyfully moved the night along. A humorously congenial personality, Vargus has a way of knowingly winking at the audience on occasion with clever asides.

The performers this week did their thing in alphabetical order of song title, which meant that Jacob Mergott, 16, of Swarthmore had to wait for over two hours to belt out the classic "You Raise Me Up" tenor anthem. He was certainly a highlight, as was the second act aggressive fun of Danielle Lachalle's "When You're Good To Mama" from the musical Chicago. She's one of the oldest contestants at age 24 and resides in Aston. One of the younger contestants, Upper Chichester’s 14 year old Victoria D’Ascenzo, grabbed the hearts of the audience with her rendition of Carrie Underwood’s “There’s A Place For Us”.

But each performer was a highlight in a truly talent filled "Vocalist" 2015 event, which is why the judges scores are so close at this point and the reason for all of them to be invited back to sing again during the Semi-Finals. 

If you would like to see the Semi-Finals of "Vocalist" live at The Media Theatre and enjoy each contestant prior to eliminations being made for the Finals, get tickets at or call 610-891-0100. It's a historic summer and truly one of the best entertainment choices around on a Wednesday night in Delco. It starts at 7pm, so you have time to enjoy a meal on State Street in Media during Dining Under The Stars prior to the show.

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