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Idols deliver the sound of music from big screen
Jordan Renfro performs during intermission. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Now that the Manteca Idol judges have decided to come up with weekly themes for the contestants, the true talent of those who remain in the competition is about to shine through.

Thanks to the new format there are more finalists than ever in the singing and talent contest that benefits the Boys and Girls Club – once again featuring a packed house at the Manteca Park Golf Course’s Chez Shari restaurant.

And thanks to the generosity of Frank and John Guinta, the upstairs banquet facility was once again ground zero for some of the best singers in the community who weren’t afraid to test their vocal mettle against others that ranged from newcomers just trying something different to seasoned vets who are going onto their third straight event.

But it’s all a lot of fun when you’re picking your favorite songs – making the judge’s choice the point where the separation starts to begin among the contestants regardless of their past experience, their training, or their practice.

Because all that you get is one shot.

This time it was all about a song that was featured in movie.

Returning contestant Judi Hoagland treated everybody to a comical yet impressive outing when she belted out her song that was told from the perspective of a dog – taken from Oliver and Company – and easily earned a pass for next week.

Longtime participant Annie Banks was nothing short of brilliant with her take of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – which was fortunately the family-friendly version and not the one that was recently again made famous in a Will Ferrell Hollywood blockbuster.

I have to admit I got a little nervous when I heard the introduction, but the classy Banks delivered a nearly perfect version of the original.

The electrical Robyn Glover was the first to pick a show tune to showcase her vocal range when she belted out “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray in such a stunning fashion that it wouldn’t be a shock in the least if she one day found herself performing on Broadway.

And whenever Amanda Fleeing steps up to the microphone you know that you’re going to hear something good – this time a jaw-dropping take on “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” that took everyone in the building back to the first time that they heard it.

The hands-down performance of the night, however, had to go to Dawn Thomas who took a page out of “The Little Mermaid” when she absolutely nailed the theme “Part of Your World” that should have been good for at least two passes. It was her soothing voice and her ability to hit every note from the Disney classic that appealed to not only the younger contestants or the children in the audience but everybody inside of the packed house.

You can’t talk about amazing performances without mentioning Brian Rodriguez’s take of The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” or Shellie Hoyt’s rendition of “9 to 5” from the musical of the same name.

And when Junior Idol contestant Hannah Goe credited Wayne’s World 2 as her motivation for Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” you couldn’t help but give her the standing applause that she deserved.

Unfortunately, it would be Galeeze Idolyantes that would be voted off by the judges before the night was over – ending her run after making it to an extremely deep and gifted group of finalists.

All of the Junior Idol contestants will be back next week.

While the contest is still underway, it’s not too late to make it out to Chez Shari next Wednesday (there is a $5 charge) to see the talent and the courage that these singers bring on a weekly basis and will continue to do so until the final two are standing on the first night of the Boys and Girls Club Telethon.
Just ask any of the former Boys and Girl Club products – like Brian Rodriguez, or myself – and they’ll tell you how far that entry fee will go to make a difference in the life of a child.

And it’s not every day you get to be entertained when doing something that can change somebody’s life forever.

You’ll be happy that you did.