The Fashion Rock contest is connected to the man behind the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.
NEW YORK (AP) – A nationwide talent competition for aspiring performers is a sham that charges contestants thousands of dollars but fails to deliver on promised results, state consumer authorities said Monday.

The Fashion Rock contest is an arm of Trans Continental Talent, which is run by music promoter Lou Pearlman, best known for launching the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.

The competition is held every three months in Orlando, Fla., and winners are promised more than $100,000 in contracts, said Teresa Santiago, executive director of The New York State Consumer Protection Board.

A fine-print notice says the contracts are “endorsement” contracts, but winners are led to believe that they will get work as models or entertainers, Santiago said.

“If a winner is paid anything at all it’s only cash paid out in monthly installments over three years,” she said. “Fashion Rock should stop pretending to be a contest like ‘American Idol.”‘

A spokeswoman for Trans Continental did not return a call seeking comment.

Sandra Couto, 26, said she won two modeling titles at a Fashion Rock contest last fall after paying Trans Continental about $5,000, but the only job she has gotten was a promotional event at a mall that earned her $200.

“I basically just don’t want anybody else out there to make the same mistake that I did, spending so much money and basically not really getting anything out of it,” Couto said.

The Florida attorney general’s office is also investigating the company.

AP-ES-04-19-04 1641EDT


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