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Yes and Nays

Celebrity singers rank District talent in scholarship competition

March 27, 2013

Alicia M. Cohn

Four professional singers offered their critiques of 10 musical performances in front of an intent crowd at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater on Tuesday night in the District's version of "American Idol," complete with a real "Idol" winner on the panel.

The District of Columbia College Access Program, or DC-CAP, brought in celebrity judges -- "Idol" winner Jordin Sparks, Amber Riley (Mercedes on Fox's "Glee"), D.C. native Denyce Graves and Patti LaBelle, fresh from a fundraising performance at the Kennedy Center the previous night -- to give away college scholarships to musically gifted high-schoolers.

The judging ranged in tone from flirty to Paula Abdul-esque but steered clear of Simon Cowell-style diatribes at an event staged to showcase D.C. talent, including multiple singers, two dancers, two violinists and one saxophone player.


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