Idols Who Sing Their Own Songs: Make A Star Reveals Fab 4 of Original Music Contest Hollywood Phase

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Fools & Horses (Baltimore, Maryland), Orange (Los Angeles, California), Zen Vendetta (Livermore, California) and Cameron Ernst (Los Angeles, California) chase a $10,000 cash prize, gain national TV exposure.

When the quarter-final round of Make A Star's $10,000 Original Music contest closed for voting on Sunday, the Fab 4 semi-finalists had no time to celebrate, because the next round began right away. These four final contestants are now hoping to earn the votes from fans and the high scores from judges all this week to help propel them into the final round and a chance at a $10,000 cash prize. Internet users around the world can register for free on and cast their votes in these two semi-final showdowns.

Baltimore alternative rockers Fools & Horses have dominated the competition so far with their sexy hit "Selfish". But now this five piece band, fronted by brothers Matt and Tim Hutchison, square off against bassist/vocalist Joe Dexter and his band of carefree lads from Los Angeles who go by the name of Orange. Can Orange's punk anthem "What I'm Looking For" knock off the Fools & Horses express?

The second semi-final is a battle between Northern and Southern California, between hard classic rock and soft melodic pop. Livermore's Zen Vendetta, whose socially poignant song "I'm Alive" is anchored by the powerful voice of singer Scott Eckardt, has earned a steadily increasing base of fan and judge support. But now Zen Vendetta must face the lone solo artist of the Fab 4: Andover, Kansas native and current Los Angeles college student Cameron Ernst, whose piano-driven ballad "Not One To Complain" has made him a star equally impossible to beat.

While the two finalists are guaranteed some form of publicity and marketing through Make A Star, the grand prize of $10,000 cash could be a career changing event for the champion.

Vote: Fools & Horses vs Orange
Vote: Cameron Ernst vs Zen Vendetta

II. The First Web-to-TV Music and Talent Competition

The Original Music Contest was open for Entries from Nov. 25th to Jan. 30th. Bands and artists uploaded their music videos for free on and entered Audition Phase brackets of 8 contestants each, with one winner from each bracket earning a spot in the Hollywood Phase. The 29 contestants who reached the Hollywood Phase were seeded into a four round tournament bracket on Sunday Feb. 8th, with each round of this Hollywood madness open for one week of online votes and judge scores.

While Make A Star's music competition can be compared to American Idol and other 'battle of the bands' websites, the seamless integration of internet and television is just one of the factors that sets the contest apart.

Make A Star launched as a syndicated program in December 2008 on music cable network Fuse. The half-hour show airs Saturdays at 10.30am (EST and PST). The first season's 13 episodes close on March 14th, when the winning contestant will be announced on TV.

Throughout the show's run, hundreds of independent and unsigned artists have been able to submit original material on the web for free and stand a chance to have their music broadcast on a national cable network, all the while retaining complete rights to their compositions.

"Make A Star marks the beginning of a new era in entertainment, where the Internet and television are no longer separate, but linked," said Dr. Iman Foroutan, Chairman and CEO of Equal Chance Productions and Contest Factory, which created and developed the show. Dr. Foroutan and Contest Factory also own the patent to the online contest process. "This new show marks a major advancement in interactive entertainment and points to a new direction for the industry, when user-generated content will become an ever increasing part of television."

"The guiding principle is the excellence of the effort", continued Dr. Foroutan. "We feature all music genres; it doesn't matter if you are hip-hop, country or rock; nor does the quality of the video production matter that much. Star quality has a way of shining through, and the public has a good ear. We have seen some amazingly talented musicians rise from complete obscurity to national TV exposure over the last 2 months. And unlike other TV talent shows, which require contestants to invest in traveling to distant audition locations, waiting in long lines, and going through an often demeaning audition process, Make A Star TV ensures that the public focus is on the work."

III. Here Comes The Judge

Legendary music industry figure Russ Regan is the biggest name on Make A Star's panel of judges. Regan, the man responsible for helping break Elton John in America and giving Brian Wilson the idea to name his band The Beach Boys has scored every match in the Hollywood Phase bracket. Joining Regan on Make A Star's panel is veteran manager and music industry executive Bill Pfordresher, and famed British singer-songwriter Keely Hawkes. Unlike American Idol, in which the celebrity personalities of Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul often overshadow the contestants themselves, Make A Star has kept the focus entirely on the talent.

While these judges count for 50% of the total score, that other 50% comes from online votes, which encourages socially networked contestants to spread the word and allow their faithful and devoted followings to help take them to the top.

"My vision for Make A Star, which got its first provisional patents issued 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," concluded Dr. Foroutan.

The remaining Hollywood Phase voting schedule:

Fab 4 (Semi-finals)
Sun, Feb 22nd 1PM - Sun, March 1st 1PM pacific

Top 2 (Finals)
Sun, March 1st 1PM - Sun, March 8th 1PM pacific



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