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Hootie is from Queens (well, it looks that way)

Viewers tuning into WWOR-TV Channel 9 at 4 p.m. Saturday might be surprised to see that Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish is from Corona.

Actually, who they'll see performing the hit tune "Time" will be 28-year-old Zack Williams of LeFrak City dressed up and singing like Rucker.

Williams is one of the few contestants who has made it to the semi-finals - out of an original field of some 10,000 competing amateurs - in "Your Big Break" that airs locally on Channel 9.

"I've been singing really all my life," said Williams, a flight attendant. "But this is the first time I've had an audience like this."

He has spent more than a few evenings singing karaoke in bars, and performs in a band called "Soul Search" that makes the club scene rounds.

But he made it to an episode of "Your Big Break" aired on Oct. 21, and there the studio audience voted for him as a semi-finalist.

If the studio audience at the show to be aired Nov. 4 votes for him to go on as a finalist, he'll compete to be the grand prize winner of $25,000 - the only time any money is involved.

But the contest "is more than money," Williams said. "It's incredible exposure."

That it is. The show reaches a national audience of about 2 million people a week, say the producers, and the production team provides all the costuming, lighting, choreography, and even back-up singers to make the contestant look as much like a clone of the star of his or her choice as possible.

But the contestant has to provide the voice - there's no lip-synching.

Viewers of "Your Big Break" are first shown a video of the performers in their "day job" and everyday life, and then they see them onstage, transformed into the star of their dreams.

The show is produced by Dick Clark Productions and Endemol Entertainment for Buena Vista Television.

To find out about auditioning for "Your Big Break," call 800-369-8692.

Reach Qguide Editor David Glenn by e-mail at glenn@timesledger.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

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