Ten diverse performers competed for their shot at fame at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Saturday in front of a panel of celebrity judges including Grammy Award-winning artist Ciara.
Judges Ciara, Kevin Tancharoen, director of the re-invented film “Fame,” and Ashlan Gorse, E! News show host, named singing duo Craig Lewis as the grand prize winner in the Fame National Talent Search finale.
“You’re like all The Jackson 5s rolled into two,” said Gorse in her appraisal of the Craig Lewis performance.
Jeffery Lewis and Zuri Craig, the duo from Atlanta, Ga., took the stage with neon clothing and cartoon backpacks, shocking the judges as they belted out their rendition of “Out Here on My Own” from the movie “Fame.”
Audience members of all ages screamed for Craig Lewis as they worked their way past the stage and into the stands.
Post-show, Ciara said she was judging on a number of factors, which made it a tough call between Craig Lewis and singer Georgia Napolitano from Texas.
“It’s about the charisma, talent, stage presence, energy, that connection,” she said.
Lewis said he had no idea he and singing partner, Craig, were going to win.
“I can’t even think of the words to explain what I’m feeling,” said the 26-year-old.
Craig, 24, expected winning to change his life, but not until after celebrating his victory with some thrills at Magic Mountain.
Craig Lewis won a $5,000 cash prize, a photo spread in OK! Magazine, a five day trip to Hollywood to meet with a top agent and inclusion of their winning performance in the “Fame” DVD.
Performer talents ranged from singing and dancing to baton-twirling to beatboxing. The finals were a culmination of a multi-city competition, held at other Six Flags parks throughout the summer and online through MySpace.
The most creative performances had the crowd in the Magic Moments Theater standing and hollering, as did the performance by male singing, dancing group V Factory.
V Factory featured Asher Book, of “Fame,” who plays “Marco,” a charismatic singer pursuing his dream. Book was joined by six other cast members from “Fame” in the stands.
“We came to see the contest and V Factory. They can sing, dance and bring their own originality,” said Sarah Lavelle, 16, of Orange County.
For many teen audience members, the chance to see Ciara in-person was motivation enough to visit Six Flags for the day.
“I wanted to come see the performers but when I heard Ciara was coming, that was a plus,” said Hayley Miller, 15, of Valencia.
“Fame” releases in theaters Sept. 25.