Julia Gagnon performs “Show Yourself” by Idina Menzel and Evan Rachel Wood as her last song for the season three finale of Central Maine Idol on July 2, 2023, at The Quarry Tap Room in Hallowell. Gagnon went on to win season three of Central Maine Idol on Aug. 2, 2023. Kennebec Journal file

HALLOWELL — Central Maine Idol is set to return Monday at The Quarry Tap Room in Hallowell, bigger and better than ever, especially following the success of last year’s winner, Julia Gagnon.

Central Maine Idol producer Chris Vallee said a record number of people auditioned this year and the show has more sponsors.

Seventy people auditioned over three locations: The Quarry Tap Room, at 122 Water St.; Henry’s Public House, at 375 Fore St. in Portland; and the showroom of Quirk Ford of Augusta, at 7 Water St. in Hallowell.

He expects The Quarry Tap Room’s outdoor venue to be filled every Monday night.

“The show itself has continuously grown, and every year it’s grown and grown,” Vallee said. “Julia Gagnon making it to ‘American Idol’ really gave us a boost and a lot of publicity.”

Central Maine Idol is a live singing competition modeled after the television show “American Idol.”


Last year’s winner of Central Maine Idol, Cumberland resident Gagnon, 22, went on to audition for “American Idol” and made it to the top seven on the show. Gagnon announced this week that she plans to do a tour across Maine and will headline shows at Johnson Hall in Gardiner and the Moxie Festival in Lisbon. Brian Root, former co-producer of Central Maine Idol, is now Gagnon’s manager.

At Central Maine Idol’s kickoff Monday night, the top 20 will sing – and compete for the $10,000 prize – on the new stage at The Quarry Tap Room.

New this year, a Junior Central Maine Idol will take the stage during the intermission to sing two songs. Vallee said he has received inquiries from many singers who were younger than 18, so the junior competition is a way to feature a different singer weekly.

“The talent we have this year is absolutely spectacular,” Vallee said. “I’m assuming, or hope, The Quarry Tap Room will be at capacity every night.”

The judges – Laura Hudson, Nikki Hunt, Theresa Beaudoin and Darrick Banda – will vote to eliminate two constants a week until they reach the top three.

Vallee said that at the start of each show there is an auction for the highest bidder in the audience to be the fifth judge for the night.

Monday’s show is set to begin at 5 p.m. to get all the singers in before it gets dark. After the first week, Central Maine Idol is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. every Monday.

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