Station holds offbeat contest
Published: Monday, January 28, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 10:53 p.m.
Black, sequined wedges; white denim jeans; a gold, metallic belt; a black, sequined top and a hot-pink windbreaker topped off with a shiny blonde wig, magenta lipstick and multi-colored eye shadow completed his costume.
Joshua Cosenza, 19, was one of 16 contestants in the "Dress Your MANnah Like Hannah" competition, hosted by KISS 105.3. He said he did it for his sisters, Milena, 10, and Savannah, 13.
Cosenza and his fellow Hannah Montana look-alikes crowded Napolatano's restaurant on Tower Road in Gainesville Sunday evening.
Daughters brought fathers, girlfriends brought boyfriends and sisters brought brothers, all for a chance to win two tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds concert in Jacksonville on Wednesday.
"Hannah Montana" is a Disney Channel original series that debuted in 2006 and has enjoyed phenomenal success among pre-teens. Miley Cyrus, daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, stars as a teenage pop singer.
Kevin Quinn, a radio personality and operations manager for KISS 105.3, said giving out Hannah Montana tickets has been one of the most popular contests for the station since it gave out Britney Spears tickets when she was in her prime.
"This Hannah Montana thing is huge," Quinn said. "It's a huge, huge thing."
Few can attest to that more than McCall Blanchard.
Blanchard, 20, attended the contest after recently winning a special Hannah Montana package. She responded to a radio broadcast where DJs asked listeners to respond if they would be willing to get the KISS 105.3 logo tattooed on their bodies.
She e-mailed the station with her story and received a call within a week that she had won. She told the station she would have the logo tattooed on her back for her niece, who was born with spina bifida and is a major "Hannah Montana" fan.
"She has such a great personality," Blanchard said, "and when you're around her you can't help but be happy and smile."
She said she might enhance the tattoo with flowers or another decoration someday, but she will never cover it up.
"I won't completely change the tattoo because it has a good story behind it," she said.
The KISS 105.3 team agreed.
"That was a story that really touched our hearts," Quinn said. "These guys at this contest are just embarrassing themselves, but this girl really did it for the right reasons."
Tonio Mazon, a UPS delivery driver on weekdays and Hannah Montana would-be this particular Sunday, joined the competition for his 9-year-old daughter, Madison, and her 13-year-old friend, Jordan Cowart. He said Madison and Jordan helped him with his dancing, and he was prepared to perform for the judges.
"I got moves," Mazon said. "I'm going to knock them dead."
Will Turner, 13, joined the competition for his friend, Ellie Wilson, 14, who is a huge "Hannah Montana" fan. He said he would do anything for Ellie.
"She's like my best friend since I was born," Will said.
Ellie's mother, Amy Wilson, said it did not take too much bribing to get him to commit to the contest.
"We thought it would be fun," Wilson said. "Just, kind of, the goofiness of it all."
After strutting their stuff for the judges and onlookers during the first round and giving knock-out lip-syncing performances to a Miley Cyrus song in the second round, Will, Joshua Cosenza and Tonio Mazon made it to the final five. The last contestants had to answer Hannah Montana trivia in the third round.
After about 10 minutes of deliberation among KISS 105.3 staff and the judges, who consisted of five "Hannah Montana" expert girls and boys, all under age 11, the verdict was in, with a surprise for the contestants.
The radio station gave out two pairs of Hannah Montana concert tickets instead of the one pair it had promised. Mazon won the contest after missing only one trivia question, and Will Turner took home a pair of concert tickets for Ellie Wilson. All other contestants won tickets to "Hannah Montana 3D," a feature film that opens in theaters Friday.
"We never expected this,'' Will said, and then quoted Hannah Montana herself. "All I have to say is 'bam!' ''
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