by Liat Rubin
On Saturday, Mar. 25, ten of the Bay Area’s most talented teens sang their hearts out in the third annual JCC South Bay Teen Idol Finals. Each performer gave a solo performance and participated in two group numbers (We Built This City by Jefferson Starship and Let it Go from Frozen), all of which fit the movie soundtrack theme.
This year’s victors included first place winner Danika Lam, second place winner Michael Mulea, and third place winner Alice Tsiniev. Lam, who is a junior at Pioneer High School, stunned the judges and the audience with her stirring performance of Bound To You from Burlesque. After failing to place in last year’s competition, Lam was incredibly excited about this year’s victory. Instead of getting discouraged by her past defeat, Lam says she “learned a lot the first time through,” and “felt that no matter how [her] second try turned out, whether [she] won or not, [she’d] still gain a lot of valuable experience. Also, it’s just another opportunity to be on stage doing what [she] loves.” It was this passion for performing, as well as her positive attitude, that drove Lam to success.
Lam won $2,500, $500 for her school’s music department, and the opportunity to record in judge Robert Hayes’ music studio. Second place winner and Sylvandale Junior High eighth-grader Michael Mulea charmed the audience with his smooth and soulful rendition of a Change is Going to Come by Sam Cooke, bringing home a prize of $1,500. Tsiniev’s, a second time competitor and Monta Vista High School student, upbeat Titantium from Pitch Perfect won her a $500 prize.
Other performances included LGHS senior Gabi Trapani’s powerful rendition of I am Telling You from Dream Girls, and LGHS senior Catherine Mosher’s Back to Black from The Great Gatsby. These local starlets made LGHS proud with their impressive talent and passion for performing. Both Trapani and Mosher encourage aspiring singers to audition next year; the experience, according to Trapani, gives a valuable “opportunity to be around incredibly talented individuals which help you push yourself and grow both as a performer and as an individual.” When asked about the group dynamic of SBTI, Mosher said “I thought it was going to be very competitive, but everyone was super friendly and supportive of one another.” It is this warm atmosphere that created a truly cherished experience for all of the teens.
This year’s competition left many South Bay inhabitants proud of their local teens and the extraordinary young talent. Visit http://www.svjcc/southbayteenidol.com for more information on the competition, and be sure to attend next year’s show!