Damian Reid-Byrne really wants to be a karaoke star and he is hoping people from Trinity and Conception Bays will help him achieve that goal.
The 12-year-old, along with four others from the province, was recently chosen as a semi-finalist for the "Karaoke Star Junior" contest sponsored by Corus Entertainment Inc.
"The votes are really important because they will determine if I win or lose," says Damian, who lives in Tilton. "I really need Newfoundland's - and especially the Avalon Peninsula's - votes."
"Karaoke Star Junior," a spinoff of "Chevy Karaoke Star," is an 11-episode series and contest which airs Mondays at 8:30 p.m. local time on CMT (Country Music Television, Inc.) and YTV (Youth Television).
Open to youth between the ages of six and 15, the competition kicked off with a cross-Canada audition tour in Vancouver Jan. 11 and ended in St. John's March 1.
The first episode of the series, co-hosted by Paul McGuire and Phil Guerrero, aired Monday, March 16. The show is made up of taped karaoke auditions of eager young performers taken during a cross-Canada tour.
When Damian, (who loves to sing, mainly around the house), heard the contest was coming to the province, he was determined to audition. But he never dreamed he would make it to the Top 5.
"I gave it my best shot, but there were a lot of kids there trying out too so it was kind of hard to tell how I did," he said.
"One lady there told me 2,400 kids tried out and I heard from someone else that it was 240 so I'm not really sure how many did, I just know it was a lot."
Damian performed the song "Apologize" by the band One Republic.
"(The producers) gave us a list of songs to chose from and that's the one I liked best," he said.
After the audition Damian, his parents, Sherry and Raymond, and his sister Desiree left to drive back to Tilton. Before he arrived home his grandparents Dulcie and Leo Byrne received the good news.
"The producers called them and said I had made it to the Top 5," says Damian. "We were really excited, everyone was jumping up and down with excitement."
Spreading the word
The Grade 7 student at Holy Redeemer in Spaniard's Bay called some of his friends and classmates in the area as well as those at Mary Simms All Grade School at Main Brook on the Great Northern Peninsula.
Damian and his family have been living in Tilton with his grandparents since December, but will be returning to Main Brook next month.
"My dad is on education leave from his job as a principal in Main Brook," explains Damian. "He is working towards his master's, so we moved here to Tilton for a few months in order for him to finish his university studies."
Damian was the only male and the youngest of the five contestants selected from the province.
"Two were from St. John's, one from Labrador and another was from Botwood," he explains.
Damian will now vie for the top spot and a chance to move to the finals.
His performance, along with the other four contestants, will be aired during episode eight of Karaoke Star Junior on YTV and CMT May 4.
The winner from Newfoundland will be announced on the following episode, May 11.
Between May 4 and 11 people in this province will have the opportunity to vote for Damian on-line at kstarjr.com or by text message.
The 10 finalists from cities across Canada will then compete against each other during a performance showdown filmed in Calgary May 18. The winner will be announced the following day. The top prize includes $5,000 and a shot at stardom.
Damian will be back in Main Brook when the winner is crowned. He hopes people from all over the province will cast a vote for him.
"The competitor with the highest amount of votes wins, that's how it works," he says. "So I would appreciate it if people would vote for me, every vote is going to count."
Apparently Damian comes by his singing talent naturally. His mom is a talented singer and a few years ago his sister tried out for Canadian Idol.
"But my dad can't carry a note," chuckles Damian.
For more information on the "Karaoke Star Junior" competition, visit the website at www.kstarjr.cim.