Clarksville teen starring on Radio Disney talent competition
Dan Geraghty takes the adulation in stride with band Hollywood Ending
Dan Geraghty, 17, is a member of a band called Hollywood Ending that is competing for a recording contract in a Radio Disney contest called The Next Big Thing. He's pictured at home with his electric guitar. (Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna / October 18, 2011)
Though just last spring he was a junior at River Hill High School, right now he and the other four band members of Hollywood Ending are contestants in "Next Big Thing," a Radio Disney talent competition that began its fourth season this month.
"I've wanted to play music forever," said the Clarksville resident last week from aboard a tour bus traveling from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.
Geraghty's no stranger to touring; he zigzagged across the U.S. at age 16 with an all-male Lady Gaga tribute band called Rad Bromance, a play on the title of the pop queen's hit song, "Bad Romance." The band, which also included Hollywood Ending's drummer, Mike Montalbano, performed in Baltimore in July.
But this feels different, Geraghty said.
"This is just crazy … it doesn't feel real," he said. "The crowds are huge, and they're going nuts and jumping around. So many kids see us and spread the word. It's just awesome."
And what a heady, pinch-me-I'm-dreaming existence it can be.
When Hollywood Ending paid a visit to the New York offices of two popular preteen magazines, the interview questions posed to Geraghty and the others were the standard fare.
"Who's the biggest flirt?" and "Who's the messiest?" are samples of the line of inquiry they faced.
"We love when new bands come to BOP and Tiger Beat headquarters to meet us," raved a writer on the sister publications' website. "We especially love it when they're a group of hot guys!"
Geraghty takes the screaming adoration all in stride — as much as that's possible when he's flirting with major celebrity.
"Next Big Thing," or "NBT," is an elimination-style talent contest among five acts in the mold of "American Idol." But this being Disney, with all the wholesomeness attached to the brand, there's nothing that even comes close to the harsh critiques and infighting among judges made famous by the Fox blockbuster.
The program is recorded at Radio Disney in Burbank, Calif., and fans vote for their favorites online and via text-messaging. Rounds last two weeks, and results are aired on the Disney Channel every other Friday.
After 10 weeks of performances and fan voting, the winner will be announced live Dec. 7 and will air on the Disney Channel on Dec. 9. The winning act will then perform at a concert and have a single released.
"You Got Me" is Hollywood Ending's signature song and video, and it has "a really cool message," Geraghty said.
"The lyrics say, 'Don't you put your makeup on, you don't need it tonight,' and the song talks about a girl's personality being the important thing," he said — what every mother of a teen-age boy would probably love to hear.
"I like getting out there in front of people and seeing the fans singing along," Geraghty said. "This band has bonded so much over the last two months that it's weird when we're not together."
The other members are Cameron Byrd, Tyler Wilson and Chris Bourne.
Showmanship and musicality go hand-in-hand in Geraghty's case, said Steve Kilgallon, a show director and producer who worked with him for several years at the School of Rock in Silver Spring.