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Teens audition for 'Idol'

February 25, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

View the slideshow of the auditions.

HALFWAY -- Elijah Pugh was playing to the crowd Wednesday night during auditions for the Washington County Teen Idol competition at Valley Mall.

He bounded onto the stage wearing black vinyl pants, jewelry and a scarf around his neck and gave a thumbs up to the audience as he prepared for his performance.

An emcee for the event said she would just smile as they waited for Pugh to begin.

"Oh, come on, you can sing," Pugh told the emcee.

Pugh then launched into his song -- "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga.

He sang loud, whipping his arm up in the air and dipping back and forth in front of his keyboard.

Pugh was one of 24 contestants in auditions for the third annual talent competition sponsored by the Washington County Free Library and The Maryland Theatre.

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An initial round of auditions was held Feb. 11 at Port City Java in the Long Meadow Shopping Center. Contestants also could submit a DVD of their act, said Lisa Key, teen activities coordinator for the library.

Three judges rated the performances based on criteria including singing and stage presence and the audition winners will be determined today, Key said.

The judges will pick 20 contestants who will perform at The Maryland Theatre on March 28 at 7 p.m., Key said. The judges then will choose five finalists, then a $500 winner and a $1,000 winner out of the top five, Key said.

The event is designed to give local youths ages 15 to 19 an outlet and to hopefully get them to think about the library more, Key said. Linking youths with the library is working because that segment is the fastest growing user of the library, Key said.

Youths at Wednesday night's auditions in the center court of the mall sang all sorts of songs, from rock 'n' roll to spirituals to country.

Pugh, 17, is a student at North Hagerstown High School and is involved in various performance arts at the school.

His black vinyl pants were part of his stage presence.

"I had to come in with a trademark," he said.

Cassandra Golden, 15, of Boonsboro, was the first to sing. Golden said she has been singing in a choir, but this was the first time she has performed alone in public.

"I just need to breathe," she recalled telling herself as she went on.

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