"Sometimes you feel like you should win, sometimes you shouldn't. This time I was right in the middle. I had no idea this was going to happen. I honestly thought it could have gone to anyone and I wouldn't have been mad. I'm flattered, honored and humbled, it's truly amazing. For Guitar Center to put a contest like this on, it's fantastic. I'm honored just to be hanging out backstage and meet all these drumming legends."
The grand finals featured not only a riveting competition between the five grand finalists, but also a series of sets by some of the world's biggest drum icons including Brooks Wackerman, Ilan Rubin, Aaron Spears, who performed with James Brown drummer John "Jabo" Starks and Roland Garcia (American Idol) as well as Mike Portnoy with Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai, David Lee Roth), Tony MacAlpine (Steve Vai), and Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Planet X, Black Country Communion) plus Dennis Chambers (Santana, Parliament, Funkadelic) with Gary Grainger, Haakon Graf, and U-Nam, as well as Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion, Tenacious D) with Robert Trujillo (Metallica) and Armand Sabal-Lecco (Paul Simon) plus very special guests Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons) with Jimmy Johnson (James Taylor, Allan Holdsworth) and Alex Machacek.
The evening's panel of judges included: former Drum-Off champions Cora Coleman-Dunham (Beyonce, Prince) and Tony Royster Jr. (Jay-Z), Peter Criss (Kiss), Adrian Young (No Doubt), Dave Elitch (The Mars Volta), Ray Luzier (Korn), Jose Pasillas (Incubus), Tommy Clufetos (Ozzy Osborne), Thomas Lang, and Trevor Lawrence Jr. (Herbie Hancock, Dr. Dre).
In addition to all the incredible performances, the night featured the Drum Legend induction of drumming greats Peter Criss (Kiss) and Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons).
Guitar Center Drum-Off is presented by DW, Remo, Pro-Mark, Sabian, Roland, Modern Drummer, Converse, LP, Evans,Vic Firth, Zildjian, Gretsch, Pearl, Tama, OCDP, Meinl, and Audix.
The grand prize package of the twenty third-annual drum competition in search for the next great undiscovered drummer in the United States includes:
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