It was bound to happen. US Gospel News and Lamon Records are hosting a Gospel Talent Search during NQC week this year. Chuck Peters (whose SG ShowPrep is getting out in front of a lot of sg news lately) has the details:

US Gospel News and Lamon Records will present the 2005 Gospel Talent Search. Ten finalists will be chosen in two categories (soloist and group). These ten finalists will compete on September 15 in Louisville Kentucky during NQC week. The winners will be announced at the Lamon Records Showcase. Each winner will receive a $10,000.00 recording contract with Lamon Records along with a single release to radio on “Lamon Records Christian Radio Disc” and will have the opportunity to perform at the label’s Showcase! To enter you must submit a one song cassette or CD demo with a 50-100 word bio along with a $5.00 registration fee. For more information visit:

The NQC board of directors should have paid attention to the American-Idol fever behind this innovation and revamped the dreary, cramped and slightly pathetic NQC talent contest into a hybrid of AI and Exalting Him years ago. But of course, they did not (I was just talking to a friend about this yesterday; I hope he’s paying attention). Though frankly I will remain skeptical of this particular undertaking until I see what kind of results it produces (Lamon Records, after all, is home to the overhyped Young Harmony), the idea is a good one, not least of all because it generates excitement around new talent and it creates an opportunity (theoretically anyway) to very publicly and emphatically demonstrate that it takes more than a love for the Lord, enthusiasm, and a few haphazardly arranged sets worth of songs to make a serious go of it. This should, of course, be one of NQC’s self-proclaimed functions as the center of the sg universe in many ways (gesturing toward the kinds of standards of performance and talent that it takes to really make it, rather than just win the joke of a talent contest run out of a back room of Freedom Hall), but obviously the board has abdicated nearly all of its agenda-setting preroragtives except those blatantly financial ones. The real question, of course, is - who are the judges of the talent contest and do they have the street cred and the proven musical chops to be authoritative judges of true talent? Anyway, for the record, I’ll note (with blatant disregard for self-effacing modesty) that I suggested something very much like this months ago.

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