Pops conductor Keith Lockhart has gotten the ball rolling by posting a video of himself at YouTube encouraging singers to apply, saying "If you've ever dreamed of performing for half a million people with America's orchestra, this is your big chance — don't blow it!"
Also new this year, viewers nationwide can watch the top POPSearch competitors on www.YouTube.com/group/popsearch07 and vote for their favorite singer at BostonPops.org. Old school singers will be able to audition the traditional way on May 18 and 19 at Symphony Hall.
A Boston Symphony spokesperson says the Pops is "excited to have singers of all genres participate," pointing out that second prize in the inaugural POPSearch three years ago went to an operatic tenor — who subsequently gave up his career as a banker and now has a singing career.
Tenor Wayne Hobbs studied singing at Boston University in the 1980s and later worked in Italy with Carlo Bergonzi, but then abandoned his singing career for the relative security of the financial industry. After placing second in the 2004 POPSearch, he left his career as a banker to revive his operatic ambitions. Next season Hobbs makes New York City Opera debut in Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner, followed by his La Scala debut in Lorin Maazel's opera 1984.
The POPSearch 2007 winner will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize and appear with the Boston Pops on July 3 and 4 in the annual Independence Day concert, as well as on a national tour.
For complete competition details and an application, visit www.bostonpops.org.