the Hilton Burbank Airport and Convention Center.
Val Verde moves up to this evening's final competition in vocals,
in which she is the only American competitor.
At 7, Val Verde studied opera, but through the years expanded her
repertoire to include a variety of music from show tunes to country.
"They say it's a rarity to sing everything, but I do," she said.
"But whatever I sing has to have meaning for me and move me."
Val Verde heard about the competition from her roommate, a dancer,
who talked her into going to the auditions with him.
"He's now on a cruise ship, but thanks to him, I'm here," Val
Competing with talent from around the world is intimidating, she
said. Although she is used to singing on cruise ships, at weddings
and in theme parks, she said she has been nervous and at the same
time excited in competition.
"It's definitely an honor to be here," Val Verde said. "I've
enjoyed making new friends from different countries."
Von Cotton, a Burbank band, also advanced to round two of
competition Thursday, but did not make it to tonight's finals.
Band members are Brant Cotton, guitar player and singer; Tom
Martin, rhythm and lead guitar; Jim Acre, drums; Beau Hendrich, lead
guitar; and Mark Hugelman, bass player.
The alternative country music band formed a little more than a
year ago after Cotton and Martin met while working as actors on a
movie in Sophia, Bulgaria.
Because Von Cotton competed against bands from around the world,
Martin said he did not know how each band could be fairly judged due
to their different sounds.
"We're not exactly sure what they're basing their judgments on,"
Martin said. "The bands are all good."