HARVIN COLUMN: From 'X Factor' to Earth art, performances and contests for everyone

This 2012 photo shows judges (from left) L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears and Simon Cowell on the set of “The X Factor.”

Charleston has so many accolades these days, but it's nice when national television shows recognize our talented people.

“The X Factor” is holding open auditions March 19, and you can bet that, like the “American Idol” auditions, thousands will be there.

The show, which airs on Fox, was created by Simon Cowell after bidding adieu to “Idol.” Judges search the country for talented singers ages 12 and up.

In a departure from other singing competition series, contestants not only audition in front of the judges, but also sing for an audience of thousands, which is often referred to as the “fifth judge” because their enthusiasm, or lack of it, can help determine the fate of these hopefuls.

The initial audition is the ultimate test to prove they have the vocal ability, charisma and stage presence to become a global superstar or breakout music act and win a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.

If you want to audition, wristbands will be distributed 8-11 a.m. March 17 at the North Charleston Coliseum, 5001 Coliseum Drive. Auditioners will not be permitted to camp out at the coliseum. They will be asked to return by 7 a.m. March 19 for the first-round auditions, which begin at 11 a.m.

For information on the auditions or to try out online, go to www.thexfactorusa.com.

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra will present two concerts featuring Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and excerpts from Prokofiev's orchestral suite from “Romeo and Juliet” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Sottile Theatre, 44 George St. downtown.

The concerts will be supplemented by a recently added open dress rehearsal at 10 a.m. Friday. Guest conductor David Lockington will lead the orchestra, and Volodymyr Vynnytsky will be guest pianist.

The open rehearsal will be presented with reduced-price tickets and general admission seating. The CSO open dress rehearsal will offer audience members the opportunity to observe a professional orchestra in action as they prepare for the concerts.

The performances will open with Gabriel Faure's Suite from “Pelleas et Melisande, which was composed in 1893 and derived from music from the play of the same name, but reorchestrated for a larger number of musicians.

Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, composed during the winter of 1874-75, is one of the best-known piano concerti in history. Its grand opening and majestic theme are an audience favorite.

Tickets for the evening performances start at $25 for adults. General admission open rehearsal is $25 per ticket; students and youths ages 6-22 may purchase open dress rehearsal tickets for $15.

Advance tickets may be purchased through the CSO website at CharlestonSymphony.org or by calling 723-7528, ext. 110.

The Charleston County Environmental Management Department once again is asking students in kindergarten through the sixth grade to submit artwork for the 2013 Charleston County Earth Day Festival design contest.

The deadline to submit artwork is 4 p.m. March 22.

This year's theme is “One Earth, One Future.”

The purpose of the contest is to highlight Charleston County students and promote the 2013 Earth Day Festival on April 20 at Riverfront Park in North Charleston.

Students must be residents of Charleston County, and only one entry can be submitted per student.

Entries can be mailed or hand-delivered to the Charleston County Recycling Center, Attn: Bronwyn Santos, 13 Romney St., Charleston, S.C. 29403.

For more information about this year's festival or the art contest, visit the Charleston County website at recycle.charlestoncounty.org or call the county's Environmental Management Department at 720-7111.

Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557 or sharvin@postandcourier.com.