An enthusiastic crowd of fans, friends, and families packed the house to cheer on their favorite Boys & Girls Club Idol contestants on Sunday afternoon at Old Town Temecula Community Theater.
And there was a lot to cheer about, as fifteen local singers battled it out for top honors in the 3rd annual Boys & Girls Idol competition.
“I think the talent that was there speaks for itself. It takes a lot of planning, a lot of courage and practice to do what they did,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest County CEO Maryann Edwards, noting that over 180 area youth have already auditioned to be a part of the American Idol-themed contest.
“The spirit of teamwork and they way (the contestants) supported each other was just a great experience,” Edwards said.
Produced by the Rotary Club of Old Town Temecula, the singing competition built upon the excitement and spirit of Fox’s American Idol sensation and gave kids the chance to pursue their singing dreams.
In the 6-9 year-old bracket, Olivia Rodrigo, 8, won the contest with a pitch and pacing-perfect “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”
McKenzie O’Coyne, 9, crooned a mature “Orange Colored Sky,” Kira Kane, 9, was poised and professional with “Phantom of the Opera” favorite “All I Ask of You,” Lilah Vener kicked it up a notch with “Mercy,’ and Julia Bembenek offered a sparkling, soulful rendition of Celine Dion’s “Because You Love Me.”
Anatalia Villarando’s spirited, mature-beyond-her-years performance of “Sweet Thing” by Mary J. Blige earned her top honors in the 10-13 year-old division.
Additional 10-13 year-old contestants included Breanna Astorga, 11, whose bold alto belted out “I Feel the Earth Move,” Leon Guico, 13, who brought great charisma and incredible falsetto to Aerosmith’s “Crazy,” Dayanna Garcia, 13, delivering intensity and poise with “Jesus Take the Wheel,” and Taryn Murphy, 12, who demonstrated operatic grandness with Josh Groban’s “The Prayer.”
Finally, Alexis Thomson, 16, commanded the stage with soulful, smoky vocals on “Right to be Wrong,” scoring the win for the 14-18 year-old division.
Contestants included Annalise Lamonthe’s , 16, beautiful soprano performing “Home,” Brooke Pernice’s acoustic performance of “The House That Built Me,” 14 year-old Michaela Reed’s superstar vocals on “Listen,’ and Melanie Tierce’s impressive “Taking Chances.”
“This (was) the third year for the Boys & Girls Club Idol event. Originally, it was open to just Boys & Girls Clubs members to sing and dance. This year we’ve limited it strictly to singing and (the competition) is open to the public,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest County Board member and Idol organizer Steve Amante.
Proceeds from the event, including a fundraising competition where friends and family voted for their favorite audition online, benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest County.
To learn more about upcoming events benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest County, visit bgcswc.org.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.