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February 11, 2009 > And The Winner Is...

And The Winner Is...

By Simon Wong

The Finals of Union City's Teen Idol 2009 Competition were held at the William C. May Jr. Teen Center on J Street on Friday, January 6, 2009.

Following the Second Round, the expected line-up of finalists involved a few last-minute changes. Solo guitarist, Esteban Leon from Fresno and singers, Katelyn West and Annelise Wood from Livermore could not attend.

A total of eleven finalists appeared before judges Jumoke Hill, organizer of the Teen Idol competition, Crystal Garcia, guest judge, and Marissa Vera, Recreation Program Coordinator at the Holly Center. Last year, there were five judges which made it extremely difficult to reach agreement. About eighty people turned out to support and cheer them on.

Interestingly, at times, there was an air of melancholy. The performers chose different songs for the Finals. In some cases the lyrics and the instrumental were slow and sorrowful. Some spoke of love, others of heartache. The vocals were trying. The need to hold notes for several bars was a test of ability. Some of the young men and women displayed an artistic maturity that belies their youth.

Singer, Kaylie Stewart accompanied herself on the guitar. Christopher John is not afraid to use the whole stage to engage the audience. Dancer Akhshaya Baskhar performed to the audience, too. A piece of advice that Jumoke Hill always gives during auditions is "Perform to us, not to the floor." The competition was strong.

Once the performances were over, the competition's organizer treated everyone to an impromptu performance. Jumoke is an R&B singer. In the meantime, the judges deliberated and tallied the scores.

The choice of song and the performance on the night were critical. Some contestants gave better performances in Round Two than in the Finals and vice versa.

Hill spent countless hours on the project. He was responsible for set design and production, supplying some of the equipment and is currently editing the video footage for broadcast on the Union City website, You Tube and on Public Access.

"We are considering a preparation class for Teen Idol 2010, before the auditions, so that contestants have a better idea of what should go into a performance and of what is expected of them," he stated. "Besides being enjoyable, two reasons for organizing Teen Idol are to showcase young people's talent and to enable them to experience the audition process. Union City didn't have Teen Idol when I was young," concluded Mr Hill.

And the winners of Union City's Teen Idol 2009 Competition are singers... Priya Vijaykumar (First Prize, IPOD Nano), Jazleen Serrano (Second Prize, IPOD Shuffle), Trina Dimaranan (Third Prize, $40 iTunes gift card) and John Christopher (Fourth, runner-up).

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