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Manteca Idol down to final five

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Manteca Idol down to final five

Manteca Idol contestant Judi Hoagland gets the crowd going Wednesday with the song "Go Your Own Way."

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED October 24, 2009 3:21 a.m.
There is a certain dynamic between reigning Manteca Idol and weekly emcee Christine Acosta and Judi Hoagland.

While saying they had their own Laurel and Hardy vibe going whenever they are on the stage together might be a stretch, they certainly entertain the crowd with their playful banter and their back-and-forth jabs.

In a sense, I thought the witty exchange that I was seeing was the Manteca Idol torch being passed down in a non-traditional manner – something that was always solidified by the way that Hoagland seemed to excel at almost every single song that took a turn at.

But Wednesday, the judges saw fit to send her home on a night when the contestants would be singing a Broadway show tune and a classic rock staple.

It was arguably the most important night of the entire competition – and in a sense, the weirdest.

The one person I had pegged as the odds-on favorite to win the entire competition had to leave because of a family illness that would prevent her from being able to attend every single week – something that undoubtedly crushed not only her but the throngs of fans that she has built since she first signed up for Manteca Idol last season.

Remember the name Brieanne Jansen. You’ll hear it again sometime soon.

Both the judges and the remaining contestants voted to bring back the person who was released last week – Trisha Checketts – who got another chance and ultimately succeeded in making into the round of 5 that will perform each and every week between now and the Boys and Girls Club Telethon Nov. 23-24..

I must say that I’m not the one with the sheet filling in numbers, but I thought Hoagland’s Broadway take “You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun” from Annie Get Your Gun was absolutely perfect – from the way that she worked the stage confidently to the changes in the songs pitch that she nailed like a carpenter.

Unfortunately this is the time of the competition when it’s the biggest fish in not a pond but a glass of water, and everybody is equally talented in their respective ways.

So Judi – for the last two years it’s been great to have your fun-loving attitude and warming smile. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there are that are going to miss you.

But like any production, the show must go on.

Last week Shellie Hoyt opted for a stool when she took on a Norah Jones song, but when on two feet she was even better as she sang “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival in such a manner that I’m sure John Fogerty himself would have approved.

The trio of Danielle Osoteo, Annie Banks, and Katelyn Johnson all sang Journey’s “Alone” – each one adding their own little twist and each one impressing enough to make sure that they were solidly moving on.

And when it came to Broadway, Amanda Fleig made her performance of “No Good Deed” from Wicked feel like it was actually taking place on 51st Street in Manhattan. There’s a bright future for the young Miss Fleig, and she showed Wednesday that it could be Broadway.

On the Junior Idol front, it was Dreama Diaz that was unfortunately let go after giving us so many weeks of memorable performances – namely Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” She made it far, and she has nothing to be ashamed of.”

So for the next five weeks there will be eight singers each taking their turn and earning a score that will be combined up until the Telethon to determine the winner.

The five Manteca Idol participants are Katelyn Johnson, Brian Rodrigues, Amanda Fleig, Shellie Hoyt, and Trisha Checketts, while Danielle Osoteo, Kaylie Dotson, and Annie Banks will round out the Junior Idol crew.

This is it. Making the finals is one thing, but this is like playing for the U.S. Open on Sunday. All of the work that went to make the cuts now has to been intensified in order for the ultimate payoff.

Ladies and gentlemen, they’re an amazing group of singers, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing them in person then you definitely come out to Chez Shari on Wednesday night and take in the crop of what very well might be the stars of tomorrow.

The $5 admission fee goes to benefit the Manteca/Lathrop Boys and Girls Club, and you’ll find that the entertainment is worth way more than that.

Hope to see you there.
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