Community Auditions Past And Present
Before there was American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The Sing-Off, X-Factor, or The Voice…New England had Community Auditions.
The Original Community Auditions
Community Auditions: Star of the Day is the nation’s longest running entertainment TV series in history. Starting in 1950, the show was first hosted by Gene Burns, followed by Dave Maynard, who remained the show’s iconic host for over 25 years. With Dave Maynard at the helm, the show quickly became a Boston institution and a family tradition. It originally aired on Boston’s WBZ every Sunday before moving to WCVB-TV (channel 5) for a brief run as “The Dave Maynard Talent Showcase.”
Each half hour episode featured singers, magicians, dancers, comedians, impersonators, and anyone with a talent to show off – even jugglers and Irish dancers. Six contestants performed for viewers in each show and at the end of the show the audience was encouraged to send in postcards voting for their favorite contestants. The following week, the winner was announced and would appear again on that week’s show. The winners walked away with bragging rights, a trophy and a prize such as a new TV set. At the end of every episode, Maynard, along with the contestants, would sing the show’s beloved “Star of the Day” theme song – the lyrics a constant reminder to the audience that their “vote holds the key.” During its tenure on-air, the program had some of today’s celebrities on the show when they were still undiscovered talent, such as comedian Sarah Silverman and ER’s Scott Grimes.
The new show was brought back to pay homage to the original Community Auditions. However there were some format changes to make it more modern. The show has two hosts- Ramiro from Jam’n 94.5 and the Patriots 2009-2010 sportscaster, Kristina Akra. There are two in-show segments, “Backstage Buzz” hosted by comedian Stephen Donnovan where the audience learns more about each contestant and “Your Hometown with Ayla Brown” where Ayla Brown interviews contestants about their hometown and finds what they do to keep physically fit.
Today’s Community Auditions: Star of the Day
After going off the air in 1987, the show was brought back in 2007 as Community Auditions: Star of the Day. While paying homage to the original, the show’s revival also included a few changes to update and modernize the format. Lead by host Ramiro from Boston’s Jam’n 94.5, the show now focuses solely on musical performances where contestants perform on stage backed up by the hardest working band in showbiz, the “Community Auditions All Stars.”
Each show now features three contestants who compete in front of a panel of three judges and a live studio audience for the chance to be crowned “Star of the Day.” The scoring is based judges’ scores using a 1-10 scale. At the end of each show, a winner is announced and advances to the next show to compete against two new contestants and defend their “Star of the Day” title. Once a performer has won four consecutive “Stars,” he/she automatically earns a spot in the Finals. There are four finals episodes and the winner of each advances to the Grand Championship episode for a chance to win the grand prize – a record produced by the legendary Bob Johnston and a brand new Subaru Impreza
provided by the Subaru of New England Dealers. Just like the original, your vote still holds the key! Even if a performer doesn’t earn four “Stars” they can still be voted into the Finals by the viewers. After each episode, viewers can go on the Community Auditions website and vote for their favorite performers and at the end of the season, the contestants with the most votes earn a spot in the Finals.
The current version of Community Auditions also includes two in show special segments. The “Backstage Buzz” feature takes viewers behind-the-scenes at Community Auditions where funny man Stephen Donovan interviews the contestants to learn more about them and their hometowns, as well as their inspirations and aspirations – with a little witty banter in between. Every week’s episode also includes a segment called the “Community Auditions Classic Clip” where the audience gets to travel back in time and see a performance from a previous season – there are even clips from the original show. In paying tribute to the original show, the “Star of the Day” theme song is performed by the “Community Auditions All Stars” or a special celebrity guest as the beginning and end of each show.
“Star of the Day, who will it be?
Your vote holds the key.
It’s up to you, so tell us who,
Will be Star of the Day.”
Although the Community Auditions has been updated for the new century, the main goal of the show hasn’t changed: to showcase New England’s diverse musical talent and give everyone their chance to shine!