The Pepsi Southern Original Competition is for real.
That’s the one thing organizers stress most — unlike “American Idol” or “The Voice,” which are massive and remote, the Southern Original Competition lets local bands compete against one another for a shot at national exposure.
“It’s a real opportunity to get a shot, and that’s hard for people to do,” said executive producer Renly Lovelady.
The competition works like this: 120 bands at 10 different cities, 12 bands at each, compete for a slot on the beach stage during the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam, in Panama City in September.
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Those 10 bands will compete again in Florida. One of them will open for Blake Shelton.
The competition has already started, and will hit Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama.
Local bands will battle at The Loft when the competition comes to Columbus.
All 12 bands will perform two songs each. The performances are then taped and ranked by the judges.
That same format will repeat with the finalists in Panama City. Last year, country star Darryl Worley showed up on the judges’ panel.
Lovelady said the competition’s first year, 2013, had 3,500 participants. This year they have 6,000 — and all kinds of talent, Lovelady said. Alternative country, mainstream and more.
IF YOU GO
Where: The Loft, 1032 Broadway
When: 5 p.m. Friday
Ciara Rae Band
The Tiger Creek Band