Youth vie for chance to be 'Idol'
Published: February 14, 2013
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FRACKVILLE - The center court of the Schuylkill Mall was filled Tuesday, Feb. 5 with an enthusiastic audience as 41 young contestants took to the stage for the first round of Schuylkill County Junior Idol V.
The fifth anniversary edition of the popular competition had singers ranging in age from 10 to 15 years and hailing from around the county. Performing songs they chose, the youth sang hoping for the chance to be among the 10 chosen for the second round, with the ultimate goal of earning the title of Junior Idol for 2013.
Even though the program was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., it began about 15 minutes sooner with 2012 Junior Idol winner Reiley Lonergan, Minersville, singing two songs before the competition began.
Mall manager and program emcee Elaine Maneval asked Lonergan before she sang what has happened since last year.
"I got a lot of new singing opportunities and made a lot of new friends," Lonergan said. "I really like music and I really enjoy making people happy by singing."
The early start helped accommodate the large field of contestants so that all could sing songs in their entirety, and the three judges - Angie Jordan, Susan Smallwood and Jeff Miller - did not comment after each performance.
"We have 41 wonderfully talented Schuylkill Countians in front of you tonight to enjoy," Maneval said.
The first contestant was Jodie Mattern, 14, of Schuylkill Haven, who sang "American Honey" by Lady Antebellum. Most singers used recorded music but there were exceptions, such as Rachel Gricoski, 15, of Frackville, who sang a cappella, and Leah Guzick, 15, of Pottsville, and Brendan Bennett, 13, of Quakake, who played guitar.
One of the early performers, Kieffer Quandel, 13, of Hegins, sang Bon Jovi's hit, "Wanted Dead or Alive," receiving a loud round of applause when he finished his song, especially from the girls in the audience.
"Kieffer, I think you got about 45 female fan club members. I was watching their faces out there," Maneval said.
The program took a break for a short time after the 20th performer due to the length of the show.
The judges scored each contestant on a scale of 1 to 10 in four categories: stage presence, technical ability, showmanship and overall performance. Judges scores are tallied and the contestants with the highest overall scores will advance to the next round. The names of the 10 who advanced is posted at center court, the mall's electronic marquee and on the mall website, www.shopschuylkillmall.com.
The next contest was scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 12. (Details of that round were unavailable prior to press production.) The six winners selected will sing in the third round on Feb. 19. The three youth who make it to the fourth round on Feb. 26 will hope to be chosen this year's Junior Idol, which means an award of a $1,000 mall shopping spree, a $100 gift certificate and makeup consultation courtesy of The Bon-Ton, a professional studio photo shoot courtesy of Michael's Photography, a caricature package courtesy of Angie Jordan and the opportunity to sing at the Schuylkill County Fair in August.
This year's sponsors are Pepsi, Avalon, a mall merchant, and Frackville Rotary Club.
Participants in Junior Idol V
Forty-one singers performed during the first round of Junior Idol V at the Schuylkill Mall, Frackville. They were:
- Ashland - Caitlin Chiaretti, 15; Sydney Stokes, 10; Quinn
Fisher, 10; Destinee Bebout, 13
- Auburn - Cameron Greenawalt, 15; Britnee Schneck, 14;
Kassidy Svenson, 14
- Frackville - Eden Frantz, 10; Rachel Gricoski, 15; Shaylee Miller, 14; Madison Stoyer, 13
- Girardville - Leif Connor, 11; Madison Heiser, 11; Paige
- Gordon - Taylor Zahodnick, 11
- Hegins - Kieffer Quandel, 13; Gabrielle Quandel, 15
- Minersville - Kylee Agnello, 14
- Orwigsburg - Jade Richards, 13
- Pine Grove - McKenna Becker, 14; Morgan Flick, 12
- Pottsville - Joshua Donley, 15; Preston Hunter, 11, Lauren Hunter, 13; Corinne Ellis, 13; Kane Heffron, 15; Lydia
Pulicicchio, 15; Leah Guzick, 15; Ashley Smith, 14;
Rebekah McClelland, 15; Madison Buckingham, 13; Ashley Pogash, 14
- Quakake - Brendan Bennett, 13
- Schuylkill Haven - Cera Blunk, 15; Addison Whittemore,
13; Jodie Mattern, 14; Genie Tucci, 15
- Shenandoah - Leanne Rooney, 13
- Sheppton - Jordyn Doria, 14
- Tamaqua - Olivia Stettler, 10
- Tuscarora - Emily Barrett, 12
Five of the 10 finalists that were selected in round one, in no particular order, are from The Citizen-Standard coverage area. They included Becker, Chiaretti, Flick and Garbrielle and Kieffer Quandel. Rounding out the top 10 who will move on from round one, were Barrett, Svenson, Heffron, Hunter and Bennett.