After a month of auditions and rehearsals, finalists Grant Bower and Brandi Rose Lentini of Santa Barbara High School, Zoe Lynn Burritt of Cabrillo High in Lompoc, Mary-Grace Langhorne of Goleta Valley Junior High, Karlie Mack of San Marcos High, Sulema Mejia of Pioneer Valley High in Santa Maria, Dylan Ortega of Santa Ynez Valley Union High, and Nathaniel Neumann, Luana Psaros and Jason Para of Dos Pueblos High opened up the show with an exciting performance of the “Price Tag/Don’t You (Forget About Me)/Give Me Everything/Just The Way You Are” mash-up from the movie, Pitch Perfect, followed by individual performances by each teen.
Finalists came from all over Santa Barbara County and were critiqued by a panel of three judges: KLITE 101.7 Morning Show DJ Catherine Remak, Emmy-nominated casting director Wendy Kurtzman and Grammy Award-winning music producer and songwriter Randy Spendlove. While the judges provided helpful tips and praise for the young rising stars, the audience ultimately chose the winner of Teen Star within two rounds of a live vote-by-text.
After all 10 finalists performed, four semi-finalists were chosen to perform again. Ultimately, the audience chose Mary-Grace Langhorne as the 2014 Teen Star.
The 13-year-old Langhorne captivated the audience with stunning performances of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” and Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” As the 2014 Teen Star, Langhorne will receive a $1,000 scholarship, a studio recording at Santa Barbara Sound Design, a video recording at Playback Studio, and will make public appearances on local television and radio and at major community events.
While Teen Star Santa Barbara is a competition that has risen in popularity over its five years in Santa Barbara within the local youth performing, the vision of the program is to provide a space for youth to showcase their talents, as well as support performing arts programs in local schools. After being part of the competition since its opening in 2010, Remak attributes the competition’s success to this vision.
“The heart of Teen Start is still there,” Remak said in a Q&A prior to the start of the competition after seeing the first number with all the finalists. “It’s still all about coming together and learning and growing.”
While the 2014 Teen Star competition is over, the finalists still have some work to do. Along with other local performances, all the finalists will be opening for Foreigner and Styx at the Santa Barbara Bowl in July, as well as performing a number with Foreigner at the end of the concert.
Check Teen Star’s Facebook page for additional appearances and announcements.