Local stars are born at annual Alpha Idol contest

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

First place winner Troy Coman of Sun City Center. Mitch Traphagen photos.

First place winner Troy Coman of Sun City Center. Mitch Traphagen photos.

Karaoke is a big attraction at Alpha Pizza in Apollo Beach — both for singers and the audience that turns out to hear them. Friendships are made, support systems are formed, the shy are encouraged and applauded. The particularly talented are respected and enjoyed by all. It is a place where, if you join in, everyone may well know your name; a place where relationships are formed and the troubles of the world disappear for a few hours, lost in music. In late August, the karaoke competition begins, with ballots cast by customers for the singers they feel warrant special attention.

And each year, longtime Alpha Pizza owner Nick Egarhos hosts an “Alpha Idol” contest with judges given the difficult task of selecting a handful of singers from a stable of singers who are all winners. This year, during the contest held last Friday night, there were 23 contestants, with six making the final cut.

Second place winner Ray Parisen of Kings Point.

Second place winner Ray Parisen of Kings Point.

The decision to choose those six, and particularly the order of the winning six, cannot be an easy one. There is some real talent walking the tiled floor in the bar of the popular and venerable South County eatery.

But in the end, someone must win, someone must take home the $500 check, in addition to the prizes that each finalist takes home. A panel of three judges make the difficult, final call.

And this year, the Alpha Idol was Troy Coman of Sun City Center. He was followed up by Ray Parisen of Kings Point, Brenda Reber of Riverview, Olivia Wilson of Apollo Beach, Emily Velasco of FishHawk and Ralph Espinosa of Riverview. All six were supremely talented, all gave their hearts and souls to the audience, and all were winners in their own rights. But there can only be one idol, and this year that was Coman, with a silky smooth voice matched only by his comfortable, professional stage presence.

Cash prizes to the winners totaled $850 plus gift certificates.

Third place winner Brenda Reber of Riverview.

Third place winner Brenda Reber of Riverview.

Alpha Pizza Pasta Prime is at 1312 Apollo Beach Blvd. For more information, visit www.alphapizza.com or call 813-645-4648.

Karaoke was provided by Tito & Debi (www.tito-debi-karaoke.com).

 

 

 

Fourth place winner Olivia Wilson of Apollo Beach.

Fourth place winner Olivia Wilson of Apollo Beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fifth place winner Emily Velasco of FishHawk.

Fifth place winner Emily Velasco of FishHawk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixth place winner Ralph Espinosa of Riverview.

Sixth place winner Ralph Espinosa of Riverview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The winners: Brenda Reber, Ray Parisen, Troy Coman, Oliva Wilson and Emily Velasco, along with Alpha Pizza owner Nick Egarhos. Not pictured is winner Ralph Espinosa.

The winners: Brenda Reber, Ray Parisen, Troy Coman, Oliva Wilson and Emily Velasco, along with Alpha Pizza owner Nick Egarhos. Not pictured is winner Ralph Espinosa.

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