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Dancing warms Idol contestant up for singing
IDOL FEATURE3-10-15-09
Trisha Checketts sings “There is No Arizona” during Wednesday’s Manteca Idol competition. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Trisha Checketts doesn’t spend her time in the bathroom warming up her vocal cords while checking her make-up.

And she doesn’t sit quietly by herself and reflect about all of the people that are going to be staring at her when she steps onto the Manteca Idol stage and gives it her all at any one of a number of songs ranging from Broadway hits to country classics.

She dances. A lot.

Known backstage among her fellow peers as “Ralph,” Checketts – a 17-year-old Sierra High School senior who is now in her second year of the competition – opts for her own high-energy routines in the pre-performance staging area before heading out in front of family and friends.

“It’s something that helps keep me loose and reminds me that this is something that’s supposed to be fun,” said Checketts. “Some people might find it a little silly, but when I get out there I’m already loose and able to do things like dance and get the crowd into it.

“Performing for people is really what got me into this, and I love to sing – it was the perfect combination.”

With her senior year coming up, Checketts wasn’t sure whether she was going to throwing her hat into the ring for another run at the Manteca Idol title. She made an impact last year with her energetic stage moves and crisp vocals.

And over the course of the last year, she has only gotten a whole lot better.

Each time she steps out onto the stage to perform it seemed to her and everybody around her that she continued to gain confidence and turn each song into a performance of her own with a stamp that was truly Trisha.

But then again, all good things come in pairs.

Last season she had younger sister Tanya on the docket with her when she competed, but the younger of the two inseparable siblings opted to help her sister with her run this year instead of competing herself. She’s taken on the role of unofficial manager and crisis averter when situations got to be a little bit hairy.

“Just yesterday I changed my contestant’s choice song and it was Tanya that picked out the song because she thought that it was something that I would do well singing,” said Checketts – the daughter of Vicki and Glenn Checketts of Manteca. “I listened to it and thought ‘I can do that one.’

“After that all I had to do was memorize the lyrics and get comfortable with them – and that can be the most unnerving part.”

While it’s Trisha that gets all of the applause and the recognition from the crowd, just seeing her up there on stage doing what it is that she loves, her younger sister said, is more than enough to keep a smile on her face.

“I just love seeing her up there – I wish I was her most days with her talent and ability,” the younger Checketts sister said. “She’s my sister and I’ll support her no matter what she does, and getting the chance to see her come outside of her box – because she can be a little bit shy at times – while doing what she loves is what makes me happy.”