"There is a tremendous amount of talent out there that is untapped," Maginnis said.
Contestants may submit their audition tapes or DVDs until Feb. 28 at any of the Washington County Free Library branches, said Maginnis, a Washington County art teacher.
The audition tapes or DVDs must showcase a single artist performing a maximum of two songs with no explicit lyrics, nudity or profanity, he said.
Maginnis said although the event will be in Washington County, judges will accept submissions from people in surrounding areas.
Lisa Key, Washington County Free Library manager of circulation and teen activities coordinator, said the idea for the event evolved from the library's Teen Advisory Board.
The group of 12 teenagers had suggested an open mic night, which was held a few times at the library. Key said the library wanted to think broader.
"We want to change the perception of the library," Key said.
Key said teens should feel that the library is up-to-date and is "a welcome place for young adults."
Brian Sullivan, executive director of The Maryland Theatre, said he thought the competition would work well at the 1,377-seat theater.
Sullivan said the competition will give local youths an opportunity to showcase their talents. If the grand-prize winner doesn't make it to "American Idol," they at least can experience New York City and maybe see a Broadway show, he said.
Maginnis said event planners are looking for more sponsors for the event.
Anyone with questions about the event may call Maginnis at 301-491-4263 or Key at 301-739-3250, ext. 126.