Carissa Corona

Robert Shaw presented Oro Valley’s Got Talent winner Carissa Corona with the first-place check in the 2018 competition. 

It’s time to tune your guitars, shine your shoes and practice your performances in preparation for the return of Tucson’s most exciting talent contest, taking place in Oro Valley this summer.

That’s right, you guess it: Oro Valley’s Got Talent is ready and rearing to go for 2019. Thanks to my good friends at The Gaslight Music Hall, talented artists of all kinds from throughout the Greater Tucson Metro Region have a chance to strut their stuff on the stage in front of a packed house and a panel of judges—all for a chance at a big check and a chance to make an impression in front of various talent scouts.

According to Gaslight opening actress Heather Stricker, who also books events for both the Music Hall in Oro Valley and the east-side theater location and co-produces a concert production company, the talent contest is the perfect opportunity for performers of all skill levels to take the next step in their careers (or just earn some recognition).

It’s serious business, Stricker said. One of last year’s finalists was even able to perform in several cities after being spotted onstage.

“I think that as a performer—someone who started from the bottom and worked my way up—I was always looking for an opportunity like this, somewhere I could win money, which of course is great, but feel like I’m actually being seen by people who might be interested in hiring me for a job,” Stricker said.

While this year’s finale is still some time away, Stricker said she and the rest of the Gaslight crew have contemplated this year’s contest since last year’s show kicked off. 

Expectations were tempered when launching Oro Valley’s Got Talent, but when the first audition provided a packed house of contestants, Stricker said they knew the contest would prove successful.

“I think we were all surprised at how many people showed up,” she said, “We had never done anything like this before, so we worried that it would be like two bands and that’s it, but we were super thrilled with the amazing turnout of all the talent. It was just so cool.”

As it was last year, the 2019 contest will be judged by three local “celebrities,” and I am proud to announce that I am returning to the judge’s table this year! While I will surely miss the fun I shared with Tina Jennings and Krystal Pino, I am excited to announce that this year I will be joined by Leslie Lois of 94.9 MIXfm and last year’s big winner, Carissa Corona.

For those of you who were unable to attend last year’s finale, Corona absolutely blew the roof off with her powerful singing voice and stage presence, and I look forward to both her and Lois joining me this year.

And while Corona won last year with her vocal prowess, Stricker reiterated again this year that talent of all kind is accepted.

“No matter how strange of a talent, or how different or whatever, if you feel like you have something you want to share, come on out to auditions,” she said. “It’s worth a try. If anything, you get to go out and show some people what you can do, and I think there’s nothing better.”

Like last year, this year’s big winner will go home with a $1,000 check, while the second and third place finishers will receive $500 and $250, respectively. All performers ages 8 and older are encouraged to attend. Performers may audition as a group or as individuals. Preliminary auditions will be held at The Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road, May 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Semifinals take place in June and July, with the contest wrapping up in August.

Entrants will have a maximum of 3 minutes to perform, and no appointments are necessary. All acts must be entirely self-contained, as no accompanist will be provided. The Gaslight asks that you bring everything you need to perform, and singers can bring a boom box or phone for backing tracks. Tracks can be played on the house sound system off. Wireless microphones will be set up.

Visit or call 529-1000 for more details. Video submissions may be sent to

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