'American Idol' - subway style
The stage is set in a yawning hall in Grand Central, the judges panel comprised of Arts for Transit people and often local musicians (in past years we met Corey Glover of Living Colour on the panel) -- yes, it's the annual auditions for Music Under New York.
Every year street performers show up lugging dozens of different kinds of intruments from just as many countries. You get amatuers, self-taught protiges and and even polished Julliard grads, all vying to be part of the MTA's program to promote music underground.
The evaluation is based on more than talent: They have to have a sound that will rise above the roar of city transit, and they have to come equipped with a self-contained amp system. No outlet plugs allowed.
The auditions are going on today until 3:30 p.m. and anyone passing through Grand Central is free to watch. In the meantime, here's a video and photogallery from a past audition:
-- Lauren Johnston