Attendance for last Thursday’s event was “three times larger than normal,” according to Peggie Schuitemaker, event coordinator for the Downtown Brentwood Coalition. The result was optimal exposure for downtown restaurants and merchants – and this year’s Idol victors.
The fourth annual competition welcomed two promising female vocalists to the winner’s circle: Adult Division champion Kristin Bradshaw, 21, earned high marks for her engaging performance to the upbeat “Settlin’” by Sugarland. In the Youth Division, Bridgette Kinsella, 13, offered a beautiful rendition of “Someone Like You” from the musical “Jekyll and Hyde.”
Performance art runs strong in the Kinsella family DNA. Last year, Charlotte Kinsella placed first in Brentwood Idol. And the talented troupe of teenagers of the Kinsella Theater Group’s Brentwood Teen Theater opened and closed the Idol event with song and dance numbers from its upcoming production of “Footloose.”
“Everyone was so great. I’m really shocked I won,” Kinsella said. “I just feel so happy when I’m singing, and I love to express joy to others through it.”
Overwhelmed by her victory but beaming with joy, Bradshaw said, “I feel great. I sing every day of my life. I feel like when I’m singing, nothing else matters.”
Bradshaw and Kinsella each received $100 and a trophy for their first-place finishes. A total of 21 singers competed this year, and each was presented with a certificate of recognition and achievement.
Judging the competition were Susan Stuart, Jack Gaughan and Nancy Torres, who ranked contestants on raw talent, choice of tune, presentation and crowd participation. Stuart focused especially on overall likeability and performance. “You have to sell it to the audience,” she said, “even if you’re not the best singer.”
Whether displaying the total package or showing room for improvement, many of the vocalists brought the potential for stardom to the table.
Eldon Raudebaugh sang “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner, whose deep country twang Raudebaugh impressively emulated. David McClellan, Idol’s most mature contestant, crooned “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers, the song most closely associated with the film “Ghost.” Harris Ancarde gave a soulful rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” And diminutive powerhouse and potential diva Kriesha Tiu belted out “Listen” by Beyonce.
Three contestants chose songs by the popular singer Adele: Taylor Maselli-Nesbitt’s strong, melodious voice presented “Set Fire to the Rain” a capella, the only contestant to do so. Victoria Young owned “Rolling in the Deep,” and Shannon Wilson captured the spirit of “Turning Tables.”
Additional contestants featured in this year’s Idol were Kathryn Patterson, Jessica Montez, Alex Vance, Bruce Mitchener, Ariel Stone, Kylie Rae, Ashley Burgdoerfer, Haley Williams, Bella Gardizi, Ian Gardizi, Reana Villanueva and Isabella Otero.