wc4The 19th Annual International Performing Arts Championships will bring singers, musicians, dancers, actors and models to Long Beach for a week of high stakes and competition often cited as the official “Talent Olympics” for aspiring performers.

Contestants will put their best foot forward to impress their peers and 75 judges from the entertainment industry Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 19.

According to the release, selections for contestants have been held in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Asia and South Africa.

Griff O’Neil, competition CEO and a former executive of the Miss Universe Pageant, said in a press statement, “Contestants from over 50 countries are expected to participate, vying for ‘the gold’ plus a total of $380,000 in scholarships: $30,000 from the Millennium Dance Complex, $150,000 from the New York Film Academy, and $200,000 from the New York Conservatory for Film and Television!”

wc3The Opening Ceremonies and WORLDSTARS Parade of Nations will feature contestants from over 50 countries parading Olympic-opening-ceremony-style in their nation’s dress and costume. The WORLDSTARS Parade of Nations will take place on Sunday, July 12 at 10:00AM and is free and open to the public. Starting outside the Long Beach Convention Center the parade will end at 12:00PM at Lighthouse Park.

Alongside the parade, the public is also invited to attend the WORLDSTARS Village for free, where locals can meet teams from around the world set up in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center on the evenings of July 13, 14 and 15 from 7:00PM to 10:00PM. Monday will feature a DJ Dance Party, Tuesday a Champion Circle featuring the Philippines and on Wednesday, the finalists in the World Championships of Performing Arts will be announced paired with live entertainment, food trucks and more.

The week of competition culminates with the exciting World Championships of Performing Arts WORLDSTARS Grand Finale Competition, a live global webcast to be staged within the Terrace Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center on Friday evening, July 17. The pre-show starts at 6:30PM, followed by the 6:45PM to 9:00PM show and live webcast where the best of the best will vie for World Championship titles.

Jed Madela, multi-platinum recording artist and 2005 Senior World Champion from the Philippines, is slated to perform.

wc1According to the announcement, this year’s judges include Cirque du Soleil’s Head Artistic Director Pierre Parisien, world renowned casting director Harriet Greenspan, Anita Mann, Emmy Award-winning choreographer and live show producer, Janet Alhanti, one of the most sought-after acting coaches, Bob Garrett, LA Models’ Crista Klayman, considered the number one runway agent in America, and Lang Elliott, the original founder of TriStar Pictures, a two-time Academy Award nominee who has produced and distributed over 125 motion pictures.

Entertainment industry greats from Hollywood, Nashville and New York, have been honored with induction into the Performing Arts Hall of Fame® at the global competition. Previous honorees include Debbie Allen, Ann-Margret, Jaclyn Smith, Justin Chambers, Liza Minelli and Dolly Parton.

The 2015 honoree is international entertainer Engelbert Humperdinck.

For more information about WCOPA, click here. Tickets are $24 and can be purchased by clicking here (www.ticketmaster.com) or calling (800) 745.3000.

Images courtesy of WCOPA.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].