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Local band Spectators in the spotlight for VH1 contest

Published: Friday, June 13, 2014 11:18 p.m. CST • Updated: Saturday, June 14, 2014 9:00 a.m. CST
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(Photo provided)
Local band, Spectators, recently competed for the chance to win a record deal as part of VH1's "Make a Band Famous" competition. New York City band Fancy Reagan won the contest.

Even though local band Spectators did not come away with a record deal after competing this week in VH1's "Make a Band Famous" competition, the members are happy about being put in the spotlight.

"It was fun for us," said Josiah Viland, a Batavia resident and the lead singer of Spectators. "We were grateful to be there in the first place. Also, none of us had ever been to New York City. We are grateful for the excuse to visit the Big Apple."

Spectators competed against 23 other bands from around the country for a a record contract with Republic Records and exposure on VH1’s show “You Oughta Know.” New York City band Fancy Reagan was named the winner.

As part of the event, Spectators had to perform its song "Retro" in exactly 60 seconds. But band members said technical problems marred the band's performance.

"The judges couldn't hear Josiah's voice," said Walter Halliwell, who plays guitar and synthesizer in the band.

After those problems, the judges let the band try again. Halliwell said he understands how problems can come up, especially during a 24-hour streaming show featuring 24 bands.

"We are very understanding of the fact there was so much going on," Halliwell said. "You can't expect everything to go perfectly."

Spectators, which describes its sound as indie-space-dance-punk/rejuvenation, formed three years ago. The band's members are from Batavia, Aurora and South Elgin.

The band received a few compliments from the judges, including Grammy Award-nominee Natasha Bedingfield, who said she "liked the beat."

The judges also complimented the dancing style of bassist Chris Ford, who appreciated the compliment.

"I was glad to hear that," he said. "It helps create a vibe for the band."

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