Gila Valley Idol 2022 starts Thursday

Austin Pace performs at the Gila Valley Idol 2021 finals, at the David M. Player Center for the Arts. Gila Valley Idol 2022 starts Thursday with a preliminary at the Double R Grill. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — Tomorrow’s stars can be seen today — or, rather Thursday —at the Double R Grill.

Thursday is the first preliminary for Gila Valley Idol 2022.

“We started it in 2006 — I can’t believe we’re still doing this, but happy to be — and it’s one of those things that kind of started by accident,” said Double R Communications owner Reed Richins. “ ’American Idol’ was big on TV at the time and we thought, ‘We could that, just locally. I know a ton of talented singers; we can do that.’ ”

There are six preliminaries, where singers perform a cappella. At each preliminary, the judges — all former Gila Valley Idol winners — will select three to advance to the finals, and another two or three to get another chance at the call-back night.

The preliminaries are:

● Jan. 27 at the Double R Grill at Mt. Graham Golf Club

● Feb. 3 at The Venue on Main in Safford

● Feb. 10 at The Stadium Club in Thatcher

● Feb. 17 at The Morenci Club

● Feb. 24 at OneAZ Credit Union in Safford

● March 3 at Safford Bowl

● March 10 at the Graham County Chamber of Commerce (call-back night)

All preliminaries start at 6:30 p.m., and are open to the public. Performances can also be viewed the next day on and the Kat Kountry Facebook page.

The finals will take place March 24 at the David M. Player Center for the Arts.

Sponsors of Gila Valley Idol include: Valley Telecom; The Stadium Club; Freeport-McMoRan; Richard’s Music; OneAZ Credit Union; The Double R Grill; Valley Furniture and Appliance; Tyson Richins-Edward Jones Investments; Swire Coca-Cola; Trophies ‘N Tees; and Double R Communications stations Kat Kountry 94.5 FM, Sunny 102.3 FM and KATO Am 1230.