After 93 auditions, callbacks, interviews and rehearsals, it all comes down to Wednesday night. Four finalists will perform live at 9 p.m.on Channel 4. Whoever viewers choose in uSay voting will win this year's title and will perform the national anthem before the city of Jacksonville's Fourth of July fireworks display -- the finale of The Local Station's Red, White and Boom live broadcast.
The 2019 judges for the Oh Say Can You Sing contest had their work cut out for them.
We had 68 audition people audition live at the Ritz Theatre and about another 25 submit auditions online. Of those, there were 20 callbacks to a second round of auditions, four of which were from the online submissions.
The judges managed to select four finalists -- two of which were from the online submissions.
Here's a look at the four finalists:
Becky Bui, of Jacksonville, started singing in church when she was 2 years old. She enjoys singing soft rock and country.
She initially auditioned online, but said singing in front of the judges at the callback was great. She really enjoyed getting their feedback.
"They said that I had a sparkle. I’ve never heard that one before. It was really cool.”
She sings once or twice a year on stage for the Vietnamese community. Her husband is Vietnamese, so she learns traditional Vietnamese music to sing at community gatherings.
She says she didn’t really know that Oh Say was a competition. She thought it was just a chance to sing the national anthem.
I wasn’t sure if I would actually make it or not. I was just hoping that they would see something in me to make them want me to sing the national anthem.”
Amara Powell, of Jacksonville, is 9 years old and says she been singing her entire life. Her favorite song to sing is “Please Me” by Cardi B and Bruno Mars.
“The music just started to get in my head. So, when I was a baby, I was posting on Facebook and everybody loved me!”
She auditioned because she loves to sing.
Amara says singing the national anthem right before the Fourth of July fireworks would be “awesome.”
Nayana Sen, of St. Augustine, first auditioned online. She says singing was her first love but didn't pursue it when her family and career took precedence. She says she would get scared when she auditions in the past but she’s "tired of being scared."
She says she has only performed in her house and car. "It's my stage."
Nayana says she heard about Oh Say in the past and even auditioned the very first year.
“It’s an amazing experience to be able to share who you are and your voice, really, with other people.”
The National Anthem is really important to me because I’m an immigrant. I’ve been here since I was 5 years old but America is my home. I’ve been here my whole life and it means a lot to me when I can sing the song. For me, it’s a matter of pride and it’s a matter of who I am, really, in life because I wouldn’t be who I am if we didn’t get the opportunity to be here. So, when I sing the anthem it’s not just singing a song, it’s singing something that means my life story. It means everything to me and my family.
"When I’m 40, I want to live my best decade. So, I want to do all the things that maybe I was afraid to do when I was younger. I want to do them now. I want to do them with passion. I want to do them with purpose and I just want to be an example and a role model for my son that when he’s older, he can do whatever he wants.”
Ashley Wiseman, of Jacksonville, comes from a musical family.
“I love the energy it gives me. I love the way it makes me feel alive. I just love every bit of it.”
He says his aunt told him about the Oh Say competition. Ashley says auditioning in front of the judges was very nerve-wracking, but it was exciting to be in a studio with so much talent, including judges Deb McDuffie and Lorna Greenwood.
About the opportunity to sing the national anthem:
It would be mind-blowing. I’m an American and we’re all American and it’s patriotic. It’s a special moment. My family is a military family and I grew up around the Navy and military people.”