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UPDATED: 'SCV Rock Star' Pro finalists unveiled

Check out the Judges' scoresheets

Posted: September 12, 2008 3:30 a.m.
Updated: November 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Here are SCV Rock Star Judge Adam Philipson's scores for the finalists in the contest's Professional division. Click to see the larger image.

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un:armed, Jessie Seely and Renfue are the three finalists who received the highest scores from a panel of experts judging 13 video entries in the Professional category of's SCV Rock Star online contest.

un:armed, from Canyon Country, entered a video for their song "This Nightmare," and scored 43.5 of a possible 50 points. Seely, of Santa Clarita, was only one point behind with 42.5 points for "Pretty." Renfue, from Valencia, was close behind with 38 points for "What You Wanted."

The two bands and solo artist Seely are now invited to perform live at the SCV Rock Star Night concert finale at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex Friday night, Sept. 19, to be produced by's contest partner Higher Level Productions.

On SCV Rock Star Night, the same panel of expert judges will choose the final winners in the contest's Amateur and Professional categories.

The three Amateur finalists -- North of Paradise Leather, Johnny Strat and Aaron Wong -- were determined by online voting and announced Wednesday.

However, contest online administrators determined the voting in the Professional category was unfair due to exploitation by many voters of technical limitations in the third-party contest program software, and further manipulation after one attempt to fix the problem.

To insure the contest's fairness, organizers opted to cancel the online votes again in the Professional category and enlisted the panel of music and entertainment industry experts to judge the entries and determine the finalists.

The SCV Rock Star judges are former artist manager/personal assistant Craig Duswalt (Axl Rose, Air Supply); Joe Elliott of Musicians Institute; Adam Philipson of the Santa Clarita Performing Artist Center at College of the Canyons; Thea Stern of the Stern Talent Agency; and Brian Vasquez of KROQ-FM/Los Angeles.

Contest organizers sent an e-mail to each judge with a list of the 13 Professional entries and links to view the videos online.

Acting independently, with no communication between them, or with contest organizers, each judge watched and listened to the videos and assigned a score of 1 to 10, 10 being best, to each video.

These criteria were the only other guidelines given to the judges; the rest was up to them:
* Originality of song and musical sound
* Professionalism of performance
* Potential to reach a wider audience
* Originality of video concept
* Quality of video production

The judges returned their score sheets by e-mail and organizers created a spread sheet to tally the five sets of scores and determine the three entries with the most points.

"Having [the entries] judged by the contest's esteemed panel allowed an alternative, fair and ethical way to determine the top Professional bands," Ian Lamont, publisher of The Signal, said Tuesday.

"It was exciting to receive their scores, one by one, from people scattered from Santa Clarita to L.A., and who barely know each other if at all," said Stephen K. Peeples, Signal online editor, contest creator/coproducer, and music industry veteran.

"Their scores were remarkably consistent, showing how the truly talented artists rise to the top when people like these judges, who collectively have decades of experience working with young talent, are making the call," he said. "I can't wait for the live concert Sept. 19."

Peeples also believes every artist or band who took the time and made the effort to enter the contest "deserves props," he said. "They helped show we have a growing music scene in the Santa Clarita Valley, which is committed to cover."

All finalists will be profiled in a special cover story to be published in The Signal's Escape entertainment section on Friday, Sept. 19, and posted online at

At the Sept. 19 concert, the judges panel will see and hear the six Pro and Am finalists perform, and the judges' ultimate scores will determine the first-, second- and third-place SCV Rock Stars in each category.

A Best Video winner will also be named from among the finalists' entries.

Top SCV Rock Star contest prizes include time at Command Recording Studios, time at Hubbadaddy's rehearsal studios, a new performance-based music video produced by Artistry Cinematics, a professional photo session from Paige Photography, a separate headlining concert produced by Higher Level, and coverage in The Signal newspaper and on

Finalists may also be included in "Rockstar Reality," a new documentary about the SCV music scene now being produced by Lisa Lane and Lisa Lujano of La Lu Productions, who will shoot the SCV Rock Star Night event for their video.

SCV Rock Star contest sponsors include Mission View Public School, the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, Robek's Juice of North Park Village and Lowe's Music of Newhall.

Check back soon for further updates.


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