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Manteca Idol judges deliver pair of shockers
Drema Diaz singing “The Climb” - photo by HIME ROMERO


•WHAT: Manteca Idol
•WHEN: Wednesdays at 5 p.m.
•WHERE: Chez Shari, second floor Manteca Golf Course clubhouse
•MORE INFO: Call the Boys & Girls Club at 239-KIDS

It’s a thankless job.
On Wednesday night while almost a dozen performers were sharing hugs and moments of joy, it was Trisha Checketts that had turned to her younger sister Tonya for the solace and support that was needed after being sent home from the Manteca Idol competition for the second year in a row.

And the worst part was there wasn’t a clear-cut reason for her to go.

With such a rich and diverse talent pool, each night gives contestants a chance to show something that they have never before done or something that they’ve mastered and made their mainstay. For Checketts that meant intensity and a dynamic presence that only comes to those who love being on stage.

With her take of Katharine McPhee’s “Over It” she wasted no time in hitting every inch of that stage with her Chuck Taylor-clad feet, and singing Jamie O’Neal’s “There Is No Arizona” was a perfect way to accentuate her voice and slow things down a little bit for some diversity.

But as everybody learned on Wednesday night, she was with strong company.

Shellie Hoyt opted for the sit-down stool when she took her spin at “One Flight Down” by Norah Jones – the daughter of the great sitar legend Ravi Shankar that influenced George Harrison and ultimately The Beatles.

Without any flash and without any glitz Hoyt let the words of the song do what it was that they were supposed to do – move everybody in the room. It would have been easy to overdo it, but she hit a home run with her choice to sit and let the music resonate the way it was intended to.

Wouldn’t be a weekly review without an update or a mention of Brieanne Jansen, who took The Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces” and made it a crowd favorite. It is something she has the uncanny ability to do with just about every single song that she selects.
Since you’re reading this on paper and it ultimately comes from wood you might want to knock on it after this sentence, but I’m pretty sure that we’ll be seeing her come the Boys and Girls Club telethon as long as she continues the dominant rein that is even more impressive as she is only 12 years old.

One of the other shockers of the evening was the departure of Junior Idol contestant Lucia Barragan who took a big step in her contestant’s choice song with Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” – one of the of the most deeply religious songs ever written as it translates into “Hail Mary” from Latin.

And how many times do you see a youngster pick a song that was written more than 200 years ago and has to be sung in Latin?
Not very many.

Unfortunately fellow Junior Idol Kaylie Dotson stole the show of the night with the LeAnn Rimes song “Cowboy Sweetheart” where her yodeling got a raucous round of applause and helped kick off the second set of songs with a massive bang.
Sometimes it’s just hard to overcome something like that.

There were definitely other memorable performances, like Brian Rodrigues’ attempt at “Be My Baby” by John Michael Montgomery – not exactly the easiest song to learn and perform in only a week thanks to the fast-paced lyrics and the ease in which one slip cause disaster.

But he killed it in the same way he did with Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” – at times sounding just as good if not better than the actual singer of the band. And that’s without the studio magic that can make us all sound like rockstars.

Next week will be the final round of the current structure since the last five weeks of the competition will include the five finalists that survived who will be competing on a points scale for the crown. Three Junior Idol contestants will also join them.

And if you’re skeptical about coming out to see the Idol performers, I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t mention that I received a phone call earlier in the week from a gentleman who said he had read my reviews in the paper and wanted to find out more about the competition itself.

By the time I got there, he had already eaten his dinner and spent the entire night with a smile on his face – with the admission price of $5 a person that goes to the Boys and Girls Club.

All it took was one night for him to be hooked, and with the talent pool the way it is right now, I can guarantee you that you’ll be finding your way back as well.

Trisha – you were an amazing contestant and embodied what Manteca Idol was all about and we’re definitely going to miss you. With your talent and drive success is inevitable. And Lucia, taking on the brave challenge of “Ave Maria” might have been the biggest leap of a singer I’ve seen in the five years I’ve covered this competition. You still have your entire life ahead of you, so keep singing and keep performing because that title will have your name on it one day.