LEWISTON — Bass player Joshua Ward said he wasn’t nervous about performing Saturday night. The suit, though, was a little unfamiliar.

Ward, 23, and band mates in Lewiston classic rock band Zealous Bellus decided to suit up for the third annual “Maine’s Got Talent” performance at the Ramada Inn.

“I never wear a suit,” he said. “It’s just what we decided we wanted to wear for this. We wanted to look uniform. We’ve done other competitions and they gave us crap for not doing more than just wearing our regular clothes.”

The band was one of 10 that took the stage Saturday, hoping to claim the honors and a $750 top prize.

But event founder and fundraiser Stephanie Gelinas said that for most of the acts, it’s not about winning.

“It’s a competition, true, but a lot of them are here to support our cause,” Gelinas said. “We had a girl perform last year and she’s back. She said she didn’t really want to win, because she wanted to come back to perform again next year.”


The show takes many of its cues from television’s “America’s Got Talent,” with a chatty emcee and celebrity judges. Molly McGill, managing editor at Portland Dispatch Magazine, served as the emcee.

Judges included Chip Morrison, president of Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce; Mitch Thomas of Community Little Theatre; and WBLM Morning Show host Celeste.

The performers auditioned in January to be part of the competition Saturday. The 10 that made the cut included an eight-member, alternative Christian ensemble fronted by Lewiston’s Cody DeGraff; Bowdoin College’s a cappella group “Meddibempsters;” and Lewiston High School junior Matt Foss, a singer.

An estimated 400 showed up for the performance, filling the room around the stage at the Ramada and maxing out the center’s parking lot.

Whether or not the suits helped Ward and the rest of Zealous Bellus, the band’s version of the Jimi Hendrix classic, “Little Wing,” was a hit with the crowd and most of the judges.

Morrison gave them a 9 out of 10 and Celeste gave them an 8. Thomas gave them a 6, complaining the band might have been too loud.

“I’m not a big fan of, when it comes to pure entertainment, where it’s so loud that you can’t hear,” Thomas said.

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