Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

Teen idols

Jennifer Geens
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 21/05) - Should Yellowknife have a junior edition of North of 60 Idol at the Royal Canadian Legion? That is the question the Legion wants to put before the public.

"My belief is that the community wants it," said Legion manager Lorne Power. "But if people say don't do it, we won't."

During last year's North of 60 Idol contest, Bonnie Deschene, 14, waits near the Legion office to be called up to the stage to perform. Liquor laws required minors to wait in the office between songs. - NNSL file

Power has had the concept in the works since the end of the second North of 60 Idol contest. But since combining kids and bars is a thorny issue, the Legion executive is asking the community what they think of a Legion-run all-teen singing contest.

The idea is to hold the karaoke event in the Legion's clubroom and close the bar so that alcohol would not be served. The evening would feature a meal instead. The judges would be music teachers from the schools and Simon-izing would be discouraged.

"The judges would be told up front that even though it's a competition, it's for the kids."

Otherwise, the event would be run the same way as the adult version, with contestants in two age categories, 10 to 13 and 14 to 18, taking the stage to sing one or two songs.

"It would give kids the opportunity to practise for the few weeks leading up to the contest, give them exposure and let their friends come and listen," said Power.

He has sent a letter to the NWT Liquor Board outlining the proposed event, and asking if it falls in line with current legislation.

A handful of teens participated in the first two Idol contests, but they faced restrictions the adults did not have to contend with. Performing minors were allowed into the clubroom only to perform, and when they performed they faced an audience of adults.

"Bonnie Deschene, who was 14, travelled here all the way from Norman Wells but her friends from Yellowknife couldn't come in to cheer her on," said Power. "She had to do her performance then come in here and sit in the office."

Some members of the Legion's executive worry that having teens in the bar will promote underage drinking. Power would like anyone with an opinion on the issue to contact the Legion.