Got talent?

tporter@lsjournal.comApril 19, 2013 

  • $5,000 The amount awarded to the grand prize winner of Lee’s Summit’s Got Talent

Auditions for the third annual Lee’s Summit’s Got Talent are coming up and event organizers are expressing a great deal of excitement for potential acts for the show.

Lee’s Summit Cares’ Julie Bruce, chair for this year’s event, said a diverse group of entertainers are on tap for the auditions, held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 25 at Lee’s Summit West High School Performing Arts Center. 

Lee’s Summit’s Got Talent is a fundraiser for Lee’s Summit Cares, a local nonprofit organization working to coordinate efforts of the community to reduce substance abuse and promote youth safety. The competition is open to residents of the Kansas City metro area of all ages and talent. Performers will be auditioning to perform in the June 21 show. The first place winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

“It’s exciting,” Bruce said of the upcoming auditions. “It’s fun to see the various acts. You get all different kinds of acts; singing, guitar, piano, band. We’ve had a yo-yo guy. The ages are always exciting. We’ve had ages 5 to 86 – we always say 6 to 86 – so the ages are fun.”

Bruce said Maurice and Shanice Hayes, the father and daughter vocal duo that went to the semi-finals on the NBC hit show America’s Got Talent, will be performing at this year’s show.

Season 2 winners MQ5, a jazz band walked away with the $5,000 cash prize for their performance of “Isn’t She Lovely”, beating out 19 other acts that competed in the finale. The Crowd Pleaser award went to musician Steve Phillips for his saxophone medley.

More than 65 acts auditioned for 20 spots in last year’s finale, which raised more than $18,000, Bruce said.

“I think everybody is excited the see what the various groups are, the various ages,” she said. “This year we’ve got a rapper and we’ve never had anybody audition in that before, so that’s exiting. We’ve got a blue grass band that is going to audition, so that’s exciting. We have a cellist. So we have everything from rap to blue grass to classical.”

Las Vegas performer and Lee’s Summit native Matt Lewis has signed on to return for his third season as a celebrity judge for the event and will join jazz trumpeter Mike Metheny, who has signed on for his second season as a judge. Kristen Merrell, singer, dancer and award-winning choreographer, will round out the judge’s panel.

“Lee’s Summit is rich in talent as everyone I think is aware,” said Phyllis Balagna of Steppin’ Out – The Studio. “We have a very strong cultural arts community, obviously, but the performing arts community is very strong so it’s an opportunity for those that may not get to perform elsewhere to get on stage and showcase their talent. I think that’s the biggest thing; we want to show off the talent that is not only in Lee’s Summit, but the greater Kansas City area.”

Lee’s Summit’s Got Talent will be held June 21 at Lee’s Summit High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets go on sale May 15. Visit for more information about the competition.


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