After performing in shows and competitions all across the tri-state, including making it as a finalist in Portsmouth Idol last spring, Blanton, of Franklin Furnace, decided to mail in his video to compete in the Tri-State Idol competition. He said the competition, sponsored by 93.7 The Dawg and the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, was helping to raise money for reading programs across the tri-state region of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.
"Basically, it's a talent show for singers," Blanton said. "You can have your own band, you can have duos, you can have solo acts just to showcase your talent. It's pretty much just to get exposure, but it's a fundraiser, also."
Blanton described himself as a solo, country/pop singer. During the competition on Friday, at Pullman Square in Huntington, W.Va., he was backed up by the Angie Fletcher Band, performing the Billy Currington song, "Why, Why, Why."
"I've actually written a couple things, and I'm working with some people from West Portsmouth, and they're writing music for me," he said.
The show featured only the top six finalists, chosen by the Herald-Dispatch and 93.7 from the submitted tapes and videos. He said the show went well, and felt good about the response by the audience.
This round of the competition asks the audience to vote for the winner, by sending them to the Web sites of the Herald-Dispatch (www.herald-dispatch.com) and 93.7 (www.wdgg.fm).
Blanton is no stranger to the stage. He's been singing for years, but has been singing in public for six years. He's performed at the Southern Ohio Opry, and auditioned in Nashville, Tenn. Later this year, American Idol also is expected to have a talent search in Louisville, and Blanton said he'll be there, hoping to impress the trio of hard-nosed judges.
"I hope to keep getting bigger and bigger, and keep spreading out regionally and hopefully get a break somewhere and make it nationwide," he said.
Anyone interested in seeing Blanton perform can view his Tri-State Idol competition video on the Herald-Dispatch and 93.7 Web sites. There, viewers also can cast their votes for their favorite performance. Videos and voting features will be available on those sites beginning Tuesday and lasts one week, Blanton said.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.