Alice Cooper’s Talent Show Adds Dance Category

Alice Cooper’s Proof is in Talent Search Pudding has added a new category.

Dancers can now compete alongside groups and solo artists between the ages of 12 and 25 with one grand prize winner chosen in each category.

Randy Spencer, who does partnerships and fundraising for Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers, said, “We’ve added a dance category so we can get more young people involved. It’s something we wanted to do for a while. It’s really exciting for us.”

Winners in each category will receive up to $1,000 in cash and can open Cooper’s 20th Annual Christmas Pudding Concert, to be held at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix in December.

“It’s our big fundraiser of the year and we always have a lot of really big celebrities at this event,” Spencer said.

“It’s always exciting to see teenagers interacting with celebrities. Many of these celebrities have encouraged and mentored many young people over the years. You never know what opportunities kids are going to have when they compete.”

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How to Compete in Alice Cooper’s Proof is in the Pudding

The submission deadline for this year’s competition is Friday, September 16.

Teens can sign up at alicecoopersolidrock.com or by texting 480-351-1765.

“It sends them a video, gives them a registration link and all the information,” says Spencer.

Spencer says they anticipate 80 to 120 contestants representing a variety of genres.

Past winners include Mariachi Juvenil de mi Tierra, a traditional mariachi band, and pre-“American Idol” Jordin Sparks. Teenagers whose music is closer in spirit to what one would normally associate with Alice Cooper continued to win. The same goes for country acts.

“Just because it’s Alice Cooper doesn’t mean it’s a rock ‘n’ roll competition,” Spencer says. “We want to see more Latin music. We want to see more EDM, more hip hop, more of all styles of music.”

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When does the Alice Cooper’s Proof is in the Pudding competition start?

Alice Cooper and Sheryl Cooper listen to a student rock band after announcing a new Solid Rock Teen Center in Mesa during an event at Westwood High School on January 22, 2020.

There’s proof in Pudding’s launch event on Tuesday, September 20, featuring Korn guitarist Brian Head Welch.

“A lot of teenage musicians will be able to see him play and we’ll have teenagers on stage at our teen center playing with him,” Spencer said.

“They’ll also have a private Q&A to ask about his career or whatever they want. And then he’ll also talk about suicide prevention, incorporating a mental health message.”

The competition will take place over eight nights at four venues, starting with the Solid Rock Teen Center at the corner of Thunderbird Road and 32nd Street in Phoenix.

The second round will take place at Paradise Valley Community College. The semi-final will take place at CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace and the final will take place at the Mesa Arts Center.

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The Alice Cooper Mission Solid Rock Teen Center

The competition both predates and relates to the mission of the Alice Cooper Solid Rock Teen Centers in Phoenix and Mesa.

“Our center’s mission is to inspire young people and make an eternal difference in the lives of teens,” says Spencer.

“So what we want to do is be able to nurture young people and give them the opportunity to perform in safe spaces and learn from other musicians. They could be mentored by our judges. Those kinds of things happen produced every day in our teen center.”

The contest also serves as a showcase for the centres, exposing families who didn’t know they existed to the fact that anyone 12 to 20 can enjoy free music, arts and dance programming.

Proof of that is pudding winners Koza performing at the 19th Annual Alice Cooper's Christmas Pudding Fundraiser and Concert at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix on December 4, 2021.

“There are a lot of people looking for something positive to do and they may not know about our teen center,” says Spencer. “And if they participate in this music competition, many of them are regularly involved in our centers for teenagers.”

It also presents what adolescents already involved in the centers have learned.

“A lot of kids at our teen center train year-round, form a band at the Teen Center, and sometimes they get the chance to perform for the first time at this music competition,” says Spencer.

“I would say that at least 50%, if not more, of the kids who are in groups that are part of our teen center sign up for the music competition on a regular basis. There’s a lot of excitement about it. Some kids don’t “I don’t feel like they’re really ready for a competition yet, especially at this level. But we encourage children to apply because you never know.”

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The Future of Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers

It’s been a year since they opened a second location in a 12,000 square foot former elementary school at 122 N. Country Club Drive in downtown Mesa. And Cooper often talks about expanding even more.

“We’re a small nonprofit with a big name, but if we had an unlimited budget, we’d have 10 teen centers all over Arizona,” Spencer says.

“We’ve had conversations and meetings with several people in other cities. And there are some exciting possibilities. I would say that in two to three years, we’ll probably open one or two more teen centers.”

That’s the goal, at least.

“But right now it’s quite expensive to make two centers,” Spencer said. “So we kind of have to let them expand and grow. And there’s a lot of kids in those communities that we still have to reach to let people know that our centers even exist.”

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-4495. Follow him on Twitter @EdMasley.

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Colleen D. Ervin