After a host of delays, auditions for “Gifted,” a new nationwide talent search for Christian music’s newest star, are now underway.
The competition, which began development in the summer of 2004, kicked off yesterday in Phoenix, with 18 more auditions scheduled before the show’s airing on TBN in March.
Created by Wright Entertainment Group founder Johnny Wright –manager to artists such as Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, and the Backstreet Boys- and Gener8Xion Entertainment’s Matthew Crouch, “Gifted” is the first production of Wright Gener8Xion Entertainment, which is purposed to create, “pop-positive, family friendly entertainment, concerts and television productions,” according to press statement.
“God gives us so many gifts, but we reach for the one with the prettiest wrapping,” reads the “Gifted” website. “In a world where MTV dictates trends and pop-stars become idols, Christianity seems to be wrapped up in conditions and judgments. It is our goal to wrap God’s message –His love- in acceptance, and in a way that blends seamlessly into ‘pop’ culture while still upholding the values we, as Christians, value most. When presented with this gift, wrapped up tightly in respect, we hope that today’s youth will open the trendy packaging to release God’s love – and realize in doing so that we are all truly ‘Gifted.’”
The “Gifted” auditions, which will take place in mega-churches across the United States, invite competitors 18 and over to sing acapella versions of classic hymns such as “How Great Thou Art” and “Amazing Grace,” with the winners of those auditions moving onto four regional auditions where eight finalists will be chosen.
The “Gifted” Finale will be hosted by Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell, with the competition’s winner receiving a major-label recording contract, career management by the Wright Entertainment Group and day-to-day support from Wright Gener8Xion Entertainment. In addition, a $10,000 donation will be made to the church where the winner originally auditioned.
“We want to showcase the best of the best of those ready to make the next step,” says Philip McIntyre, producer of “Gifted.” “It will be about the talent they have, all about their gift. It won’t be about image or what someone looks like. It will be about vocal talent period.”
“There’s been an explosion in popularity of singers and groups coming out of the Christian music community recently,” McIntyre continued, citing the popularity of hit Christian rock acts Switchfoot, MercyMe and Casting Crowns and Christian country singer Carrie Underwood. “That’s only the tip of the iceberg, really. There’s so much more talent out there yet to be heard.”
The show’s next audition begins tomorrow at 8 a.m. EST at Bethany Baptist Church in Lindenwold, N.J.
For a complete list of audition times and locations as well as rules as contestant forms, visit www.giftedtalentsearch.com