Coca-Cola Talent Classic provides young adults a chance to shine on stage [Local Profiles]

Coca-Cola Talent Classic provides young adults a chance to shine on stage [Local


“Read all the rules,” suggests Gail Benedict to the contestants of this weekend’s semi-final round of the Coca-Cola Talent Classic, the annual talent competition at the Kentucky State Fair. Although a seemingly simple piece of advice, Gail, who will be among the judges at this year’s competition, says that performers are frequently disqualified for missing details in the small print. Among other rules, performers must adhere to the 4-minute time limit and no outside voices can be heard on their background music. Gail suggests performers understand their venue, know who they are performing for, and choose age-appropriate material. Audience appeal, she says, is crucial.

After 34 state-wide preliminary competitions, the winners (all ages 13-21) will meet in Louisville to showcase their talent in a variety of vocal, instrumental, dance, or gymnastic performances. The annual Coca-Cola Talent Classic semi-final round starts tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center. The performances are critiqued by a panel of judges who are professionals in various areas of performing arts.

Gail has been involved in the Coca-Cola Talent Classic for the past 18 years as both a judge and coach. As the former coach of Nicole Scherzinger (1996 Coca-Cola Talent Classic first runner-up, lead vocalist of the Pussycat Dolls, as well as past winner of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”) she considers the event an opportunity for performers to audition for a scholarship, and a learning experience for all participants.

“Anytime you get to perform, and get feedback, that is valuable,” she says. Gail also makes herself available to talk to any participants after the contest if they’d like her personal evaluation.

“I’m always thrilled with the amount of real talent that comes out from all corners of the state,” said Gail, who enjoys seeing young people going after their dreams. “This is a showcase for kids who are really working on their performance skills.”

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About Jennifer Bowen
A Kentucky-born, coffee-obsessed, music lover with a never ending wishlist of places to visit and things to do.
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