Week Two of the Media Theatre's Delco Idol was a dedication to Al Alberts. The Al Alberts Showcase was on WPVI in Philadelphia for nearly 35 years. It remains one of the country’s top 10 longest running television programs in the United States, and is a precursor to The Media Theatre’s summer vocal competition.
“We consider ourselves a launching pad for aspiring talent as well,” said Jesse Cline, the artistic director for the Media Theatre. “Our Delco Idol contests represent that aspect of our mission. It’s a summer event in which young singers are given a showcase and an opportunity, much like the focus Al Alberts placed on local talent for over 32 years. We are proud to carry on his tradition in Delaware County at a professional music theatre that has national recognition.”
Cline was noticeably absent from his judging table on July 18, as his artistic eye was needed elsewhere--at the opening night of The Media Theatre's production of Forever Plaid. The comic revue has a one week run at Middletown Performing Arts Center in New Jersey. (The show features several tunes by The Four Aces, a group founded by Al Alberts.)
There were five other judges for Delco Idol Wednesday night, however, including Alberts' niece Barbara Zippi, of Artemis Productions, who was a former producer and personal assistant for her uncle. She says, “I received my ‘college’ degree working for Al. He nurtured thousands of careers over the years, many of whom are recognizable today.”
The contestants brought a varied selection of tunes to the Delco Idol contest during Week Two, including three young ladies who accompanied themselves on guitar: Emily Luther, 15, of Malvern with a rendition of the Kelly Clarkson hit "Breakaway;" Maria Maslin, 18, of Broomall, who charmed with a pop ditty she wrote herself entitled, "Turn It Up;" and Sofia Ryan, 15, of Havertown, who re-arranged Lady Gaga's "Pokerface."
The competition will move forward with only two of them, however, as Luther was eliminated by the judging panel that also included Andrew Arbutina, One Song Rock Festival Coordinator; Gene Bissell, retired CEO of AmeriGas Propane Inc; Jack Holefelder, Iron Workers Bank Chairman; and Heather Smith of the Brandywine River Museum.
Others eliminated were Samantha Bream, 15, of Media; Kasey Brown, 15, of Wilmington; and Molly Fair, 20, of Havertown. Each of the contestants brought a unique brand of talent to the stage and deserve applause.
As with Delco Idol every summer, during Week Two the front-runners are not easy to choose. Emcee Sue Serio gave a wrap-up of last night's Phillies game between singers, and pointed out that the competition was "anyone's game" at this point.
"What's great about this contest is there are so many styles of music," she said. "I can't remember a summer when we had so much variety."
To see who is "still in the game" or to vote for your favorite contestant, visit mediatheatre.org. Each vote is $2 and supports The Media Theatre's mission. The top three vote-getters each week receive added points to the judge's tally which may save them from being eliminated. For information, call 610-891-0100.