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Brieanne Jansen bows out of Junior Idol

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Brieanne Jansen bows out of Junior Idol

Brieanne Jansen delivers her farewell song at Wednesday's Manteca Idol competition.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED October 22, 2009 2:15 a.m.
She burst onto the scene last year as an 11-year-old with a voice that captivated not only the audience but the singers she was competing against that had years of experience under their belts.

After becoming the main draw for this year’s Manteca Idol competition with her dynamic vocals, Brieanne Jansen – who made herself a household name locally when she earned a role in the movie “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” – is withdrawing from the competition because of an illness in the family that will prevent her from being a regular contestant in the coming weeks.

“This is something that’s been a lot of fun for me, and it’s something that I don’t want to have to leave,” Jansen said Wednesday night at Chez Shari where she capped off the evening’s singing with a stirring version of Celine Dion’s “God Bless America.” “I’m definitely disheartened that I have to leave this behind, but at this point family is more important.”

After making a deep run into the contest last year, a group of organizers spent months completely overhauling how Manteca Idol operates – from the auditions all the way down to how the final weeks of the months-long competition will play out.

The introduction of the Junior Idol title for those 12 and under who don’t feel like competing against older and more established singers became a viable option for some contestants and has produced some crowd favorites like Danielle Osoteo and Kaylie Dotson – not to mention Annie Banks that has literally grown up before the Idol faithful that have been attending the event since it first got off the ground as a Boys and Girls Club fundraiser.

But Jansen didn’t need to worry about the level of competition, and by the second or third week of the finals, proved that she was the competition and the person that everyone else was chasing.

Her subtle demeanor and her dedication to her craft only led to more memorable performances like Amy Grant’s “True Colors” and even a song that she sang for the Lathrop Idol competition that reportedly brought tears to the eyes of one of the onlookers.

For Jansen, it’s all part of doing what she loves.

“It makes me feel happy when there are people out there that enjoy my singing and my performances – that really does mean a lot when you put in so much work,” she said. “I’m going to miss being up there on that stage, but I’m mostly going to miss hanging out backstage with the other singers that I’ve all gotten close with.

“It’s been tough to see them go over the weeks as the contest has gone on.”

And while everyone is competing for the same title and the same prize, the backstage bond between contestants is unusually tight – often including several different groups playing games in between sneaking peaks and who is up on stage.

There’s even a nickname circle floating around for those who have been around for a while, and not even Jansen has been able to get away.

“I got the nickname ‘turtle’ because I have this thing for turtles,” she said laughing. “It’s just one of those things that we do while we’re waiting, and thinking about not being a part of that anymore is something that’s really hard.”

The Idol competition continues weekly through late November on Wednesdays at Chez Shari. The cost is $5. It is a benefit for the Manteca Boys & Girls Club. Call the club at 239-KIDS for more details.
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