Jim Spoto, of Oak Lawn, won Orland Township's Senior American Idol on March 7 at Georgios Banquets, 8800 W. 159th St., Orland Park. (Supplied photos)

Jim Spoto, of Oak Lawn, won Orland Township's Senior American Idol on March 7 at Georgios Banquets, 8800 W. 159th St., Orland Park. (Supplied photos)

Spoto takes title as Orland Township’s Senior Idol

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Jim Spoto, of Oak Lawn, won Orland Township’s Senior American Idol on March 7 at Georgios Banquets, 8800 W. 159th St., Orland Park.

By Kelly White

Beautiful voices rang out through the Orland community this past week.

Held on March 7, Orland Township’s Senior American Idol was an annual event that brings together talented seniors to showcase their musical abilities.

Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady and the Board of Trustees invited seniors out for exciting evening filled with dinner, dancing, and live entertainment through a friendly singing competition at Georgios Banquets, 8800 W. 159th St., Orland Park.

“This was a great opportunity for our community’s seniors to showcase their talent and passion for singing,” O’Grady said. “I encouraged everybody to come out to experience this fantastic event.”

This year, Jim Spoto, of Oak Lawn, won against 11 other contestants, taking home the coveted title of this year’s Senior American Idol. He was not only awarded the title of Senior American Idol Champion, but also a crystal microphone trophy, courtesy of the township.

Spoto has been singing most of his life. He has performed in various choirs, choral groups, and community theater, and currently serves as a Cantor in his local church.

All contestants, including Spoto, sang their favorite songs over three rounds, aiming to impress the judges, win over the audience, and win the highest score to move on to the final round. Audience members could support their favorite singers by contributing to their designated ballot boxes with donations, adding extra points.

In order to audition for Senior American Idol, one had to be age 55 or older, choose a song in good taste, not exceeding three minutes and sign a photo release/waiver. All participants were required to attend mandatory meetings and rehearsals.

Performances were then evaluated using a scale from 1 to 5 in each of the following categories: stage presence/poise; connection with the audience; song selection; voice quality (tone, key); ability to project; and ability to remember lyrics accurately before a person could move on to the big finale portion of the competition.

These auditions provide an excellent opportunity for individuals to showcase their skills and abilities before stepping foot in front of a large audience, according to township officials.

Judges for this year were: Blake Alexander, Carol Tardi, and Laura Alberts. All three have experience with judging the competition in the past.

Orland Township’s Senior American Idol is a charitable initiative that supports the Orland Township Scholarship Foundation, directly benefiting local youth in the community.

“I had the pleasure of once again witnessing some outstanding performances by local talents,” O’Grady said. “The event was a great success, and it was heartening to see how the entire community came together to support the singers and the Orland Township Scholarship Foundation. The atmosphere was electric, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. The winner of the event, Jim Spoto, delivered a truly impressive performance and was deserving of the recognition he received.”

Tickets were $30 a person to attend and included a plated dinner and access to a cash bar. With nearly 500 guests in attendance, the competition has grown over the years and has become one of the largest events hosted by Orland Township.

“Senior American Idol was born out of a desire to empower and showcase the talents of the senior population,” Alex Shipyor, Public Relations Coordinator at Orland Township, said. “Thanks to the vision of Orland Township resident Ruth Korkus and the support of Supervisor Paul O’Grady, this event has become an inspiration for seniors in the community. Along with raising funds for the scholarship foundation, Senior American Idol serves as a reminder that age is just a number and that it’s never too late to pursue one’s passions.”

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Kenneth Joseph Yerkes on March 13, 2024 at 7:41 pm

    Congratulations James Spoto🎤
    Orland Township’s Senior American Idol🎤
    Well Deserved.

    #DoctorY🎤



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