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January 21, 2009 > Union City Teen Idol 2009 Gets Underway

Union City Teen Idol 2009 Gets Underway

By Simon Wong

Union City's second annual Teen Idol Competition got off to an impressive start on Friday, January 16, 2009 with the first session of open auditions. The next will be held on January 23, 2009 at 4pm at the William C. May Jr. Teen Center, 1200 J Street, Union City.

Of the seven entrants, five have made it to the second round on Friday, January 30, 2009, vocalists Alexandra "Aly" Saturnino and Kristina Johnson of Union City, solo guitarist Esteban Leon of Fresno, dancer Brandie Newton from Oakland and singer Kaitlin West from Livermore. The performers were aged between thirteen and seventeen.

Jumoke Hill, organizer of the City's Teen Idol Competition, Youth Commissioner Brenda Li and guest judge Crystal Garcia assessed the performances.

Some contestants were nervous, others confident. The judges were keen to see the teenagers acquit themselves well and proffered sound advice which improved their performances. Jumoke Hill, an experienced performer, was respectful. He has been through the audition process himself.

"I started auditioning when I was about fourteen years old. When I look back, there is a clear progression. Constructive criticism always helps. The more opportunities to perform before an audience the less nervous you become. Hopefully, these young people become professionals one day," said Mr Hill.

"When we inform people that they have not made it to the next round, most take the news well and learn from the experience. There are a few exceptions," concurred the judges.

The judges are bracing themselves for next Friday. "We've had a lot of people calling in to see if they can audition on January 23, if they can't make it today," said Marissa Vera, Recreation Program Coordinator at the Holly Center.

Contestants will compete for an IPOD, an IPOD shuffle and a $40 Gift Card from iTunes.

The competition is open to 12-17 year olds. Entrants are required to prepare thirty to sixty seconds of their favourite song.

Will you be the next Union City Teen Idol, High School Musical star, rapper, dancer or musician?

For more information, call 510 675 5276, email or visit

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