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Hallelujah rendition stuns Manteca Idol crowd, judges
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Jessica Ferree has a bright future when it comes to holding a microphone in her hand.

Wednesday night, the 11-year-old McParland student stunned everyone with her stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s famous “Hallelujah” – a song covered famously by Jeff Buckley and eventually Rufus Wainwright – that was included in the movie “Shrek.”

She sang the entire song – which was by far the longest of the night – completely a cappella, and drew positive comments from the judges.

As a Junior Idol contestant, Ferree showed her ability to tackle one of the harder songs to nail down. She was glad that it was well received by both the judges and those in attendance at the Manteca Idol competition at Chez Shari.

“I teared up the first time that I heard it,” Ferree said. “My dad was the first one who showed me that song, and I just fell in love with it.”

And as it turns out, Ferree’s involvement in the singing competition – which benefits the Manteca Boys and Girls Club as a fundraiser and will culminate at the organization’s annual telethon fundraiser in November – is all thanks to a friend’s mother that told her about the contest.

“She told me that I was a great singer, and it was something that I should try,” Ferree said. “It’s something that I enjoy. I love being up there in front of people, and picking and learning the songs that I’m going to sing each week.”

Ferree will likely get the chance to perform for a while as a Junior Idol contestant – a class that will carry over the majority if not all of the contestants to the final round once the Idol contestants are trimmed down to the final grouping – and looks forward to the challenge.

“This is something that I have a lot of fun doing, and I can’t wait to come back next week and perform another song,” she said. “We have a lot of fun backstage – we’re always dancing. It’s fun and it’s crazy, and I’m glad I’m a part of it.”

The Idol takes place Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at Chez Shari on the second floor of the Manteca Golf Clubhouse. Admission is $5.