Season two: River City Idol back to find Muscatine stars

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–After it’s first success in Muscatine around the 2010s, students taking Muscatine Community College’s television production class revived River City Idol in 2021. “We hadn’t done it for a decade, and then we brought it back as a student project,” organizer Chad Bishop recalled.

A fun for all singing contest based on the hit television show American Idol, the production, which took place in Dec. 2021, proved such a big hit that the Muscatine Community College Theatre Department, Dreampost Media, and Access Chanel 9 decided to bring it back a second time. “It just worked really well last year, Bishop noted.

With the next competition set for Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. in Muscatine Community College’s black box theatre at 152 Colorado Street in Muscatine, Bishop hopes many musicians will audition for this afternoon of musical entertainment.

A simple format for singers to showcase their skills, 12 local contestants will sing for a panel of judges to determine which four will advance to the final sing off. Judges will also offer positive, constructive, and sometimes amusing feedback to each performer, helping those who make it to the sing off know what it will take to win this year’s prize. The winners of the final round will earn their share of $500 in prize money. “It makes it more interesting to watch when they win a prize,” Bishop noted.

A contestant singing in the 2021 revival of River City Idol. Photo courtesy Chad Bishop.

Throughout the afternoon, several local acts, including the house band Sleepy Head, featuring students from Muscatine High School, will perform. As a highlight of the event, a local personality will perform as a masked singer, challenging the judges to figure out who serenaded them in costume. Alongside the event, visual artists at any local school may enter their art into an art contest, with winner receiving both a cash prize and free framing for their work.

Because the event will likely run into the evening, attendees may enjoy free pizza at 6 p.m. This tasty treat will ensure the audience remains well-fed throughout the performance. For those who cannot attend in person, Access Chanel 9 may provide live streaming options on its cable and YouTube channels as well.

The perfect opportunity for local choir students to show off their singing skills or for community members to just have a good time performing, Bishop encourages anyone curious about competing in River City Idol to audition. “We all have a singer inside us,” Bishop emphasized.

Prospective singers may send a video audition, where they record themselves singing the first song they would like to perform, to Bishop via email. Alternately, they may email or call him at 563-288-6070 to set up an in person audition. Anyone auditioning should have two different songs in mind in case they make it to the final sing off in the competition.

For those looking to shake off the cold, dark nights of winter with some musical entertainment, Bishop believes River City Idol will hit the spot. “I’m just bringing it from Hollywood to here.”

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