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Singers compete for Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (Video)

Tuesday - 1/28/2014, 10:28am  ET

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Eight-year-old Kelvin Dukes sings at D.C.'s Hard Rock Cafe. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON - It may be extra cold outside, but a sure sign of spring has emerged.

For the first time ever, a singing contest was held Monday night to choose some of the performers for 2014's National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, which takes place April 12.

Among those who sent in first-round audition videos, 18 local vocalists or groups were chosen to perform live auditions in front of a panel of judges at D.C.'s Hard Rock Café.

The winners included R&B and pop artist Ashley Brown of Mount Ranier, George Washington University a capella group "The GW Vibes" and another D.C. a capella group called "Reverb," as well as Alan Gendreau of D.C. who compares his style to Michael Buble.

But the winner who stole the show was the youngest, 8-year-old Kelvin Dukes of Burtonsville, Md.

"It was very hard because you had to stay focused and not mess up on the words," Dukes told WTOP of his audition.

He says he began singing at age 3, he is learning to play guitar and he even taps into his creative side for this songs.

"I do write my own songs," he added.

Dukes says when it comes time for the parade, he knows where he wants to be riding.

"I hope it's a float because you get to wave at people and say, 'Hi! Hi!'"

Watch some snippets of performances, including Kelvin's:

As the judges were making their decisions, the emcee of the contest, American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini, treated the crowd to his own performance:

This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 20 through April 13.

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