The only performer to top American Idol winner Jordin Sparks in the last 12 months was back in action Saturday at Arizona Mills mall in Tempe.
But this time, 18-year-old drummer Beau Evans of Gilbert served as a judge at the sixth annual Drug Free AZ Superstar Search sponsored by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
He won the fifth annual competition in 2006 that included Sparks, 18, a future national star from Glendale who won the Fox reality television series “American Idol” on May 23.
“She’s a great singer, has a great voice and an amazing personality,” Evans said. “It was an honor to know her and hang out with her backstage.”
At Saturday’s competition, Evans was one of six local celebrity judges scouting for what might be the next Jordin Sparks.
A choreographed martial arts group, Team Durbin, from Jeff Durbin’s Champion Karate in Chandler, was announced the Grand Prize winner of this year’s competiton.
The group consisted of performers between the ages of 11 and 16 who will appear in television commercial promoting the drug-free Arizona message.
Over the summer, applicants were asked to provide answers to the question: “What’s Your Anti-Drug?” Judges sorted through the responses and selected 22 performers.
Audience members filled the food court tables beside the mall’s carousel, as they applauded the performers and ate lunch. Passersby were drawn in by the performances and the large crowd.
The first act, a band named Contrast made up of 12- and 13-year-old boys from Scottsdale, performed a song that included the lyrics: “Drums, not drugs.” Their drum set had the word “drugs” crossed out in red.
Deanna Antome, 16, of the Gila River Indian Community, dressed in colorful clothing that imitated a butterfly’s wings and performed a Native American dance called the Northern Fancy Shawl Dance.
Ryan Gold, 17, of Scottsdale, shouted, “Now find your anti-drug” to the audience after completing her boxing routine.
“I make my body as strong as my mind, so I’m able to say no to outside influences,” she said.
Gianna Levin, 16, and her 12-year-old sister, Gillian, of Fountain Hills, performed a dance routine together. They both agreed that dance was their anti-drug.
Their mother, Sandra Levin, said the girls rehearse for 20 hours a week.
“They have no time for anything else, which is good,” the mother said.