Teen Star competition announces 10 local finalists

By Angie Bertucci

Teen Star USA

James McKerman of Bishop Diego High School, sang during last year’s Santa Barbara Teen Star singing competition at the Arlington Theater.
File photo

After months of preparation and three days of auditions by some of Santa Barbara’s most talented teenagers, Teen Star has announced the top 10 finalists who will perform and compete in the Showcase Finale on Feb. 24 at the Arlington Theatre.

The young singers have been selected after interviewing and auditioning before a panel of judges, and the top 10 will go on to attend mentoring sessions with this year’s celebrity mentor, Kenny Loggins.

This year’s earlier audition schedule allows the finalists more time than in the past to work one-on-one with Loggins to prepare for their performances.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing the new young talent in Santa Barbara. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed helping a few fantastic young artists grow into their promise,” Loggins said.

The 10 finalists are:

– Ava Burford, Santa Barbara High School (11th grade)

– Benjamin Catch, San Marcos High School (10th grade)

– Daniel Geiger, Pioneer Valley High School (12th grade)

– McKenna Gemberling, San Marcos High School (9th grade)

– Jake Gildred, Santa Ynez High School (9th grade)

– Neve Greenwald, Dos Pueblos High School (9th grade)

– Holly Hadsall, La Colina Junior High School (7th grade)

– Savannah Jayaraman, home school (12th grade)

– Elizabeth Padfield, Solvang Middle School (8th grade)

– Nicole Trujillo, Dos Pueblos High School (12th grade)

The alternates are Sofia Schuster, Crane Country Day School (8th grade), and Milania Espinoza, Lakeview Junior High School (7th grade).

For eight years, Teen Star Showcase has brought to Santa Barbara County a professional concert experience complete with red carpet entrance designed to make area youth feel like superstars.

The judges and live audience voting on the night of the performance will determine three finalists and the ultimate winner. The winner receives a $1,000 scholarship and the title of Teen Star Santa Barbara.

In addition to being a singing competition, Teen Star offers seminars and workshops on auditioning and instructive feedback for contestants, as well as mentoring sessions for finalists. Teen Star then provides opportunities for the winners to be seen and heard at key civic events throughout the county.

Tickets for the Showcase Finale are on sale at AXS.com or at the Arlington box office. Learn more at TeenStarUSA.com.

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