Original American Music Idols : Baltimore's Fools & Horses and Livermore's Zen Vendetta Reach Finals of the $10,000 Make A Star Web-to-TV Music Contest

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The Top 2 finalists in Make A Star's Original Music contest are in the championship face off this week. A panel of music industry judges and online fan votes have an equal say in who claims the $10,000 cash prize.

the band is really stoked to have made it this far. Our fans are really rooting us on and couldn't be more thrilled at our success. Zen Vendetta is a fantastic group and

March is a time of year filled with tournament madness, filling out brackets and voting for your favorite musician in a national competition. But for two upstart rock bands on opposite sides of America, this March is different, as they've found themselves in the spotlight, with music fans around the world casting votes for them.

Fools & Horses, an alternative rock band from Baltimore, Maryland and Zen Vendetta, a hard rock band from the east bay town of Livermore, California are the two groups blessed with an early spring, as last Sunday both advanced to the final match of Make A Star's Original Music contest. Fools & Horses' song "Selfish" and Zen Vendetta's "I'm Alive" now have until Sunday March 8th to gain as many fan votes as they can and hope Make A Star's judges give their original songs the higher score.

Watch both music videos and vote here : Fools & Horses vs Zen Vendetta

MakeAStar.com is the brainchild of founder Dr. Iman Foroutan, is a competition website that has revolutionized the music and talent competition concept by linking the internet and television together seamlessly.

Bands and solo artists in all genres of music uploaded their original songs on MakeAStar.com to enter this competition for free. While there are several competition and social networking websites that musicians use to promote their music, Make A Star provided an amazing fast-track to national exposure by broadcasting a weekly TV show in conjunction with the online competition.

Syndicated on FUSE Saturday mornings at 10:30AM, the Make A Star show highlights dozens of the highest scoring and most unique music videos in the Original Music contest. Hosts Lynda Halligan and Greg Chard have brought a fresh mix of class and cheeky humor to the half-hour program as they recap the latest winners and new music each week. The show's 13 episode season concludes Saturday March 14th when either Fools & Horses or Zen Vendetta become the Original Music champion.

That final episode will also feature both finalists in person, as representatives from Fools & Horses and Zen Vendetta journey to Make A Star's Southern California studio for the taping, where they'll perform their songs and find out if they win or lose live on set.

Asked to share their thoughts on the contest, Fools and Horses' Matt Hutchison said "the band is really stoked to have made it this far. Our fans are really rooting us on and couldn't be more thrilled at our success. Zen Vendetta is a fantastic group and "I Am Alive" is a rockin' song. The guys in the band are also extremely gracious and kind, so we're going into this final round as new and good friends. I'm looking forward to meeting them and coming out to California to the Make a Star HQ!" Zen Vandetta's Scott Eckardt and Josh Wolfer echoed similar sentiments, saying that they are "having a lot of fun and want to leave the contest as allies no matter who wins" and "are very impressed with the way Make A Star works and just proud to have come this far."

Both bands made it this far by the thinnest of margins in the semi-finals. In Match 1, Fools & Horses outlasted Joe Dexter and his Los Angeles-based punk band Orange in a razor thin vote by less than 1%. Match 2 was a battle between Northern and Southern California, as Zen Vendetta edged singer-songwriter Cameron Ernst and his piano-driven hit "Not One To Complain". Ernst, a student at USC in Los Angeles, came up a mere 2% shy of Zen Vendetta's combined fan and judge totals.

Contestant scores come from a 50/50 split between online votes from fans around the world and Make A Star's panel of music industry judges, with legendary A&R man Russ Regan the biggest name on the panel. Regan, the man responsible for helping break Elton John in America, scores every match in the Hollywood Phase bracket. Joining Regan on Make A Star's panel is veteran manager and executive Bill Pfordresher and famed British singer-songwriter Keely Hawkes. But unlike American Idol, where the celebrity personalities of Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul often overshadow the contestants themselves, Make A Star has kept the web and TV focus squarely on the talent.

Dr. Iman Foroutan summed up the hi-tech, artist-friendly mission of the Make A Star brand succinctly: "My vision for Make A Star, which got its first provisional patent filed in 2000, has always been that there should be a level playing field for talent. So often, you hear about people being shut out by the system of record labels and agents. The web allows talented people to be judged fairly and equally by the public and allows the best talents to rise."

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