America's next idols

The audience came, saw and went wild over the performances during the Bay Area Idol youth talent show at the Palladium Theater.

By Times Staff
Published October 4, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - As members of the hip-hop trio Group X tossed T-shirts into the crowd, the audience of 800 screamed, danced and waved their arms in the air.

There were 23 groups competing on stage at Saturday's Bay Area Idol, a youth talent show sponsored by Everyone's Youth United. Some sang, others danced, and a handful did both.

But regardless of what was happening on stage, the audience went wild.

People danced in the aisles, in their seats, on the way to the bathroom. Children stood on chairs and craned their necks for four hours to see the acts. Nearly everyone had a friend, child or grandchild who was performing.

"Go Travis! Move that body!" Keesha Tillman, 18, screamed as her boyfriend's group Skool Boyz performed on stage. One by one, the three rappers tossed their hats to the floor, did backflips and threw off their T-shirts.

Later, in the women's bathroom, people sang from the stalls: "I hope you know that you are craaazy seexxxy" - from a performance by Clearwater hip-hop group Feature Ink.

In the end, the 91 groups that auditioned were whittled down to three winners.

Infusion Dance Company, a Clearwater group, won the $1,000 first prize.

The 13 dancers, all wearing camouflage pants and black leotards, took over the stage as they celebrated with group hugs.

The group, which performs "a mixture of dance, acrobatics, fencing and martial arts," will use the money to pay for a new dance floor, director Haven Hennessey said.