Amateur Night returns to the Apollo

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(PIX11)-- For 81 years of bright lights and smooth sounds, one New York City stage separated the real from the fakes-- and music legends were made.

Wednesday night, the Apollo kicked off their latest season of amateur night. There's a new musical director and PIX11 gained access before the big show.

"We are the great great grandfather of talent competitions in America before the rest of them," Marion Caffey, producer of Apollo Amateur Night, said. "This was the first."

One hopeful from Long Island, Marisa Ann was happy to be part of the kick-off event.

"I'm so excited and just grateful to be here," Ann said.

Wade and Lucner hoped their soulful sounds would make the audience swoon.

"We just look at this to get some major exposure and share the opportunity we've been working on for a long time now," the musical pair said.

But did either of them have what it takes to make it at the Apollo?

"If you're grown, you get subjected to the realness of the audience that comes in and says 'ah, not tonight'," Caffey said.

At 7:30 p.m., ready or not, it was showtime.

Even with her pre-show jitters, Marisa Ann stepped to the mic and rocked. She sang a Beyonce song and the audience approved.

The Apollo also showed love to Wade and Lucner too. After singing their hearts out-- the amateurs got a little inspiration from a pro.

Jazmine Sullivan first sang at amateur night when she was just 11. Today, she's a Grammy-winning R & B sensation. Living proof that the Apollo's star-making power isn't just in the past. It's also the present and the future.