By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The next Tri-States Idol winner will be crowned Friday when WGEM Fox holds its annual talent search, with the winner advancing to an "American Idol" audition Aug. 4 in Nashville, Tenn.
The competition will be held at the Quincy Mall at noon. Applicants will initially sing a capella before a panel of local judges in the area that was formerly occupied by The Mustard Seed near the west end of the mall. This portion of the contest is not open to the public.
Judges will select a final 10 to perform in front of a live audience at the Fountain Court area of the mall, starting at approximately 2 p.m.
Shawn Dickerman, manager of creative services at WGEM, said the winner will be guaranteed a tryout in front of American Idol producers and will meet the program's judges -- Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban.
Those auditioning must be live in the WGEM Fox viewing area that covers West-Central Illinois, Northeast Missouri and southeast Iowa. Those auditioning must be at least 15 years old, but no older than 28 (born on or between June 2, 1985, and June 1, 1989). All of those participating must also be able to attend the Aug. 4 audition in Nashville.
"We've seen the thousands and thousands of hopefuls at ‘American Idol' auditions on television," Dickerman said. "We know there is great talent in our area, and this is a great opportunity to showcase it."
Arguably the most successful of the Tri-States Idol winners was 2011 champion Jared Keim of Hannibal, Mo. Keim now lives in Nashville and is a member of the country trio Restless Road.
More information about the Tri-States Idol competition is available at www.wgem.com.