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First Manteca Idol winner returning to judge contest
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Manteca Idol’s first winner dropped by the Boys and Girls Club Saturday to take a quick stroll down memory lane and chat with some of the organizers during the second of three auditions on Saturdays that are being held prior to the start of the annual competition at the end of summer.

And she had nothing but good things to say about her experience during the run up to her Season One victory at Kelley Brothers Brewing Co.

“The first year it was all about learning the music, and variety, and all of the different categories,” said Laura Poindexter – who added that the diversity of the music prompted her to start a karaoke company afterwards. She’ll return this year as a guest judge and as an intermission act during the competition. “It was really a lot of fun.”

Where the first audition featured returning contestants, the second had only one – showing organizers that the fresh faces they were hoping to draw are showing interest in the competition.

But there are more than enough slots still left available for those wishing to participate in the fundraiser that benefits the Boys and Girls Club and is a big part of its annual telethon fundraiser held every year in November.

For 15-year-old Valiyah Martin, Saturday’s audition was another chance to get into the Manteca Idol competition – where three years ago she made it out of the audition round but didn’t progress to the next level.

“I think that I did a lot better today, and I felt a lot better performing,” said Martin. “I was nervous today, but I’m glad that I’ll be able to come back and do it again.”

According to Idol Director of Operations Melanee Scarborough, the panels have been seeing good signs early on from the contestants, but are still actively encouraging people to come to the third audition on Saturday, July 24, next week.

“We’ve had a lot of new faces and a lot of new contestants, and that’s something that we wanted to see – we’re happy to be bringing new people into the Manteca Idol family,” Scarborough said. “We want to see even more when we come back next week. Even if you’re nervous, and even if you’re scared, come down and give it a try – it can’t hurt.”

Those hoping to work on their performance skills will be able to do so starting Monday, July 26, at the Main Street Café from 4 to 7 p.m. with current Idol Judge Julie Torres.