Elite eight perform at concert in SCERA shell

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A music competition reminiscent of American Idol and the battle rounds on The Voice, is down to the final elite eight. Musicians and bands have gone head to head in an online voting bracket hosted by TopBlip.com to compete for first place.

In its inaugural rounds last year, America’s Freedom Festival chose between 400 contestant entries. This year, that number has grown over 600% to¬† a total of more than 3,000 entries according to their website. With the increase of competitors, the level of talent in the top eight is much higher.

“The talent level in the talent search is unbelievable,” said Sean Bingham, president of TopBlip.com. “We have bands and artists from literally all over the world.”

The winner of this talent search will take the stage in front of 50,000 people at the Stadium of Fire Concert on July 4 and win a check for $10,000.

With the online voting over, the top eight winners have moved on to the next phase where they will play at a live concert at the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre in Orem on June 13. Here, the audience will choose the final two to move on to the last phase of the competition, performing at Stadium of Fire.

Performing alongside the eight musical artists and bands is Grammy nominated Dave Barnes. Barnes, who released his sixth album in March and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 2012 for “God Gave Me You,” will also join the panel of judges who will help determine the winners for the concert.

“I’m really looking forward to being a part of this event and seeing all the performers,” said Barnes. “The talent that has come out really is impressive.”

The second annual talent search is sponsored by TopBlip and America’s Freedom Festival. The Freedom Festival is also giving out two free tickets to Stadium of Fire each Tuesday and Thursday in an online Facebook competition.

According to their website, Stadium of Fire is the largest stadium fireworks show in America. New additions to this year’s show include the Hope of America’s children choir and a James Bond-themed pyrotechnics performance. The show is also broadcast to over one million U.S. servicemen and women around the world with assistance from The Pentagon.

Live at Stadium of Fire before Scotty McCreery and the Beach Boys take the stage, the two winning finalists of this year’s talent search will perform. That night, the stadium audience will vote for the winner and $10,000 prize.

The Performers:

Joe Banua, Eureka, Mont.: A singer-songwriter who made a brief appearance on American Idol, Joe focuses on contemporary Christian and gospel rock.

Carl Dylan, Atlanta, Ga.: An Atlanta-based South African who recently wooed the crowds of SXSW with his bluesy rock sound.

Spence Glenn, Provo, Utah: Kown for his frequent Polynesian companions, Spence is a singer-songwriter who embraces the “island way of life.”

Ryan Innes, Provo, Utah: With an emphasis on R&B and soul music, Ryan has performed in local Utah establishments for years.

Callie Moore, Los Angeles, Calif.: Callie started writing songs and playing the bass and guitar when she was 12 years old.

The Neighbors, Salt Lake City, Utah: One of the most well-known bands in Utah, The Neighbors area brother-sister duo (Adam and Rachel Kaiser). Rachel has performed back-up vocals for The Killers.

Twenty for Seven, Detroit, Mich.: A pop-rock band from Michigan whose members are all under the age of 20.

VanLadyLove, Orem, Utah: Known for their beautiful harmonies, this up-and-coming trio of singer-songwriters already has thousands of Utah fans.

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