Simon, Kara and Randy won't be the judges, but the songs and lyrics will be fascinating at the second annual Japan! Summer Festival's new "Japanese Idol" competition.
The 10 contestants in Saturday's contest must sing a Japanese song in Japanese. Non-native speakers are encouraged to enter; they can earn extra points from judges.
The first-place prize is two round-trip tickets to Japan. "Seriously," says the festival Web site.
The tickets are provided by contest sponsor All Nippon Airways.
"The purpose of this festival is to help Kentuckians understand Japanese culture better, and to give them a chance to enjoy and experience a different culture," said Matt Krebs, executive director of the Japan/America Society of Kentucky.
A variety of events will be going on throughout the day at Jacobson Park, including games and activities for adults and children. Besides Japanese Idol, highlights include a flea market, where Japanese families will sell a variety of goods not found in America; martial arts performances; and a Nintendo Wii tournament.
There will be special performances by the Dublin Taiko Group, a traditional Japanese drum troupe from Dublin, Ohio; and the Indianapolis Minyo Dancers. Hananoki Restaurant and School Restaurant will sell food.
"There were about 1,000 people who attended the festival last year, and this year we are expecting at least 2,000," Krebs said. "This is only our second year having the festival, but we expect a really good turnout.
"The Japanese people that live in Kentucky are an important part of the community, and the whole idea of the festival is for the Japanese and Kentuckians to get to know each other better."