Well, as Andy Warhol said: "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes."
With today's emphasis on "reality" shows, that may just turn out to be true.
But at least here's a show that will put you in the spotlight (literally) for your moment of fame, and you won't even have to be stranded on an island or be insulted by a sarcastic quizmaster to get it.
But you will have to be able to sing.
"Your Big Break" takes ordinary people with good singing voices, dresses them up like their favorite performers (e.g. Elvis, Madonna, Britney Spears...) and lets them act out their favorite showbiz fantasies on stage before a live audience and millions of TV viewers.
Five or six acts take the stage during each hour-long show.
First we see a short documentary about the contestants living their normal lives, then on stage we see them disappear into a bank of fog, only to reappear (after the professional makeup artists & costumers get through with them) dressed up as Garth Brooks, Elton John, Cher, Aerosmith or Frank Sinatra.
The contestants here are surprisingly talented; this is no karaoke bar. And they sound remarkably similar to the stars they're impersonating. So much so that many people mistakenly believe they are lip-syncing to a recording. They are not. All singing is live here, done by the contestants. No lip-syncing, ever.
The audience votes for its favorite act at the end of the show. Contestants compete for a $25,000 grand prize, which isn't much in this day of million dollar game shows. In fact, if they win the audience vote, contestants don't even win the money then - just a chance to go on to the finals where they can win the cash. But I suspect that many of these contestants would probably pay to get this kind of free publicity, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to strut your stuff in front of the world, and maybe even be discovered along the way (although that's a longshot.)
The show's host is Alfonso Ribeiro, better known as 'Carlton Banks' on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," or as Rick Schroder's buddy on "Silver Spoons". But in a way it's fitting, since Alfonso himself got his first big break as a kid dancing next to Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial.
A Dick Clark production, the show began in 1999, but this American version can actually trace its roots back to Europe, where the original version has been a hit for years in over a dozen countries.
"Your Big Break" is taped at NBC Studios in Burbank, the same place where they tape the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The show is syndicated. It airs locally (in L.A.) at 5 p.m. on Saturdays, on KCOP Channel 13 (the local UPN affiliate).
So, you're interested and you've got the talent? How do you get your "big break?"
It's simple. Just submit an audition tape. They want to hear what you sound like and see what you can do. Send them a VHS tape of yourself singing as your favorite celebrity (there's no need to to dress up for the video), along with a current photo of yourself, to:
Your Big Break
Be sure to include your name, address and telephone number. If you are selected as a potential contestant, you will be notified by phone.
All contestants must be at least 18 years old. No actors' union members are allowed (SAG, AFTRA, ACTRA or EQUITY). If you like your tape, make a copy for yourself, because the tapes you mail in will not be returned.
On the other hand, if you just want tickets to see the show being taped live, go to Audiences Unlimited (minimum age 16).
Getting there: NBC Studios is located in Burbank, bordered by the Ventura (134) Freeway (on the south), Alameda Avenue (on the north), California Street (on the west), and Bob Hope Drive (on the east). / From the Ventura (134) Freeway east, take the Bob Hope Drive offramp; turn left (north) on Bob Hope Drive (go back under the freeway), then turn left again (west) on Warner Street.
[For more information, you
can access Your Big Break's official website at
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