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NEW YORK Alaskan folk princess Jewel was the big draw at the Pantene Pro-Voice Summer Showcase event in Central Park's Rumsey Playfield (home of Central Park SummerStage). The event featured a free mini-concert from the famous yodeler, as well as performances from the five finalists in Pantene's contest for female singer-songwriters.
The young, largely female audience got free tickets to the concert by visiting a Web site set up for the event. Before the show started, concertgoers milled around the playfield, checking out a tent where sponsor Seventeen magazine had makeup artists giving free makeovers.
The show--which was taped by the Much Music cable network to air as a special--was produced by Stage Presence, a production company that specializes in television specials. The firm worked with design company Tom Schwinn Designs to create a set with moveable pieces that allowed the show's crew to adapt the stage to the show's different performers.
The event began with a performance from pop hopeful Willa Ford (who also performed at the Candie's Foundation benefit). Then each of the five women finalists performed the song they submitted to the contest, which is named for Pantene's (a Procter & Gamble company) Pro-V shampoo line. The singers--all in their 20s--were chosen from more than 1,200 entrants.
Then, while Jewel performed her hit songs and a new song--and even popped in her trademark yodel--the winners were chosen by a panel of judges including record industry executives and a team of celebrities (coordinated by Overland Entertainment's new celebrity booking division) including Laurie Anderson, Kathy Najimy, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Kimora Lee Simmons--a slate of artsy women nicely suited to the event's themes of exposing women's voices. The winner, Libbie Schrader from Portland, Ore., will receive a demo recording contract from Atlantic Records, a $10,000 endowment to her high school music department, a new Ford Focus and a position as an opening act on an unnamed upcoming summer concert tour.