After the phenomenon of “American Idol,” plenty of local singing competitions added “idol” to their name, but not too many can claim a winner of both.
Before Scotty McCreery was America’s Idol, he was Clayton’s, winning the competition in 2009, then hitting the national stage in 2011 and becoming the reality competition’s 10th winner.
Like the television show, this will be the last year for Clayton Idol. Longtime organizer and town clerk Kimberly Moffett said rather than run the risk of the reference growing stale, it was time to hang up the name and move on to something else.
“My thought was, with ‘American Idol’ off the air and this being the 11th year of Clayton Idol, it’s time for something new and fresh,” Moffett said. “Perhaps something showcasing other talents and reaching out to more than singers but still in Town Square and part of the Harvest Festival.”
As a sendoff, Moffett is trying to draw as many previous winners back for the event as possible. Judy McCreery, Scotty’s mom, will be a judge, along with previous winners Victoria King and Taylor Leopold, from 2008 and 2010, respectively.
“I want to acknowledge them and bring them together,” Moffett said of the event’s winners, saying so far she’s received commitments from about half.
McCreery hails from Garner, and Clayton Idol has crowned winners from a number of towns in and around Raleigh. Moffett said she’s proud of the run the competition has enjoyed.
“It’s definitely been a regional draw; we’ve had some success stories,” Moffett said.
King, who won as a junior at Clayton High School, said she grew up on the music of the church and wanted to try out the stage. She won singing Sarah Evans’ “Born to Fly” and still has a passion for music and performing.
“I always loved to sing, and I thought (Clayton Idol) would be a good way to sing for the public,” King said. “I remember being so excited. It was kind of the beginning of a new possibility for me. I love singing for the public; there’s nothing like it. And being in high school at the time, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Now that she’s on the other side of things, King said she was happy to come back as a judge, especially for the last event.
“It’s an honor being involved with Clayton Idol, especially with this being the last one,” King said. “I’m looking for someone with a stage presence and will be listening for the vocals. But mostly I want to see someone who can get up there and have a good time, who loves to sing and has a passion for it.”
Auditions for the Clayton Idol finals will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 7 on Town Square. Finalists will move on to the main competition Wednesday, Sept. 14. The fee to enter is $40 and comes with a T-shirt. For more information, visit claytonchamber.com.
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson