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Beach Idol show pokes gentle fun at American pastime

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HARVARD — The Beach Idol show the staff at the town beach put on wasn’t nearly as slick — or smarmy — as its wildly popular TV namesake. No celebrity glitz, high stakes or stinging put-downs, just high fives, gentle jibes and an imaginative playbill full of young folks having fun on a fine summer morning at beautiful Bare Hill Pond.

A tarp draped in front of the beach-house door was the entrance — stage center. Perched in a window above, interim beach Director Derek Brown could enjoy the show and keep an eye on the waterline.

On the sand and stage were enthusiastic emcees, lip-synchers, dancers and creative costumes that ranged from the sublime — suit jackets over bathing suits — to the silly — patterned stockings a court jester would covet. Other highlights included a quirky smoke machine, canned music and an active audience.

The first act was “The Ariels,” six “little mermaids” — Alice Kennedy, MacKenzie Grant, Grace and Barbara Morrison, Rita Fagan and Elise Bilodeau — performing “Under the Sea” from the animated Disney film “The Little Mermaid.” Other acts included a pair of pretty “Pink Ladies” miming a number from “Grease,” four dudes cutting up to the vintage hit “Surfin’ Safari,” and a take-off duet by Mike Symula and Elise Bilodeau that started off with the wrong song, but ended up with rave reviews.

“It was kind of weird,” said one judge.

“I liked it,” said another.

Judging from the applause, so did the audience.

The show, which poked gentle fun at “American Idol,” was a low-key, high-energy mockup of the “real thing,” take-off acts and all.

For example, the lineup included the Backstreet Girls, Beach Staff Boys and Jackson Squared. The latter consisted of Nick Parker and Will Deeks, who moon-walked in the sand to the pop idol’s memorable “Beat It.” The two graduates of The Bromfield School walked off with the contest’s top trophy.

Although there were judges, audience comments and even trophies for the winners, there were no losing acts in this contest. Beach Idol was a blast, and all in fun.