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Manteca Idol ready to launch seventh season
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It started as a spin-off to the blockbuster television program to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club.

And while it still does that, Manteca Idol – now in its seventh season – has become somewhat of a blockbuster itself – attracting new people with each season and helping showcase local talent regardless of age.

On Saturday, April 10, reigning Manteca Idol Shellie Hoyt and Junior Manteca Idol Annie Banks will be joined by finalists Brieanne Jansen and Kaylie Dotson to perform for the thousands of people who flock to the annual Crossroads Street Fair in Downtown Manteca.

In the eyes of Manteca Idol Director of Operations Melanee Scarborough, the public performance will be a chance to publicly advertise the fundraiser and showcase the talent that it draws each and every year.

“We feel that the growth we had this year was wonderful,” Scarborough said. “We saw a return of old faces which was wonderful, and we had a tremendous growth in the opening of the Junior Idol competition that showcased some extremely talented kids.”

After several seasons at Kelley Bros. Brewing Company and one year at The Emory, Manteca Idol has found a new home at Chez Shari – a location that many on the Idol committee feel helped fuel the growth and resurgence of the event that used to draw standing-room only crowds.

And incorporating a completely new system in how the program operates paid sweeping dividends.

Scarborough and the committee – consisting of Jay Holmes, Michelle Brown, Anne and Phil Talcott, Jeff Hannon, and Julie Torres – introduced a new age-group concept that put contestants ages 12 and under into their own bracket to equalize the playing field and prevent the intimidation that comes with competing against seasoned performers.

A group of finalists in each age group was then selected and brought back to perform multiple weeks and earn a consolidated score rather than one issued based on a single outing.

While Manteca Idol is still a competition, the focus of the committee has been to make it something that is fun for both the performers and the members of the audience – leading to a strong bond amongst performers in the preparation area.

“Our goal was to bring fun back to Manteca Idol, and I think that we 100 percent succeeded in doing that in 2009,” Scarborough said. “The committee has laid the groundwork for a great 2010 season.

“We wanted the audience to walk away saying ‘I can’t wait until next week.’ When we closed the show I heard a lot of people saying ‘I can’t wait until next year.’”

Tryouts for Manteca Idol will be held sometime in May – hoping that the word will spread while school is in session.  The dates will be announced on