Dusting off their vocal chords, more than 30 local singers made their way to the stage at Sago Sports Bar and Grill in the Palms of Destin Resort on Saturday for the return of The Emerald Coast Sing Off Clash for the Cash.
The first five singers who advanced to the elimination round are Janelle Bell of Destin, Blake Williams of Navarre, Cambrie Stringfellow of Fort Walton Beach, Hope Given of Fort Walton Beach and 16-year-old Jennifer Johnson of Freeport.
Running for six-consecutive weekends — from Jan. 19 to Feb. 23, five semi-finalists will harmonize their way through per week, earning themselves a spot in the elimination round on March 16.
From the elimination round, 10 singers will be selected to continue on to the finals, being held on April 16.
The contestants are singing for more than just their supper — up for grabs is more than $15,000 in cash and prizes — including a $5,000 recording contract session with Emergent Recording Studios.
And last weeks' auditions were only the beginning.
"The judges have a huge chore," said Wes Fell, president of Paradise Promotions of the Emerald Coast, the company that's promoting the event.
Belinda Martinez, The Log’s office manager who served as a judge on Saturday, said that being a judge wasn't easy, because "everyone was great; it was a really tough decision."
All of the singers brought something unique to the stage, showing off their ability to carry the proverbial tune in a bucket.
Armed with her blue guitar, Hope Given, a 20-year-old from Fort Walton Beach played a rendition of "Toxic" that was the polar opposite of the poppy Britney Spears' sound most are used to — but, apparently, everyone loved it.
The judges all praised Givens' performance — with one judge, Anthony Shepard saying the young singer should change her name to " ‘Given Hope,’ because she is giving everyone hope."
Sponsored by The Palms of Destin Resort and Conference Center and Visionary Vacations, all audition sessions are open and free to the public, a $10 audition registration fee for contestants.
Auditions continue Saturday, if you're interested in participating in the sing off, you must sign up the day of the audition at Sago Sports Bar inside The Palms of Destin Resort from noon to 5 p.m.
For more information about The Emerald Coast Sing Off Clash for the Cash visit EmeraldCoastSingOff.com or email info@EmeraldCoastSingOff.com.