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Gleeful singing competition for city students
By Andrew Chin

MORE than 40 contestants between the ages of 10 and 19 will have their moment in the spotlight as part of the first Shanghai Glee competition tomorrow at the Qianshuiwan Cultural Center.

The competition is inspired by the hit American TV show "Glee," which focuses on the adventures of a high school glee club, interspersed with imaginative remakes of popular songs.

Contestants include students from 11 of Shanghai's international schools. Awards will be given for Most Original Performance, Most Promising Performer and Best Choreography. Awards will be given to the best soloists 10 to 12 years old, best soloists 13 years and older and best group.

Prizes include studio time at the professional digital recording studio, dbStudios in Tianzifang.

The competition will follow an "American Idol" format with guest judges: opera diva Lydia Ma, Miss Earth China contestant Cissy Zhou and Ford Motor Co's Joe Pinon. The three will provide their thoughts but don't expect any type of Simon Cowell acidity at this family-friendly event. All of the participants will receive certificates and all proceeds from the night will go toward funding construction of a school in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Shanghai Glee is the brainchild of Ann James of the expat theater company Urban Aphrodite's and Shelly Bragg, founder of the charity Still Chasing Rainbows.

"When we met to discuss ideas for a benefit, we were originally thinking of a kind of revue production of the musical 'Grease' at Shelley's school, WISS (Westin International School of Shanghai)," explains the Texan James.

"But then the idea expanded into an international school competition like the TV show 'Glee.' The interest was huge and we had no problem attracting some of Shanghai's most talented teens," he added.

Between 300 and 400 people are expected to attend the festivities. Still Chasing Rainbows will present a video about their work, while two guest artists, Ma and up-and-coming pop singer Long-a, will perform.

Although the two may be pros, expect at least a few of the young performers to nudge their way into the spotlight.

Date: May 11, 8pm
Venue: Qianshuiwan Cultural Center Shanghai
Address: 1/F, Q Hall, 179 Yichang Rd
Tickets: 200 yuan

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