By Bailey Mknelly & Alexis Manzanilla,
Ten Davis High students qualified for the final round of the Davis Idol singing competition, which will take place on Saturday, Jan. 30.
From a pool of 21 contestants performing on two separate nights, seniors Maya Krishnan, Miranda Alvarez, Elan Sonstein, Navya Chauhan and Anthony DiCarlo, junior Benjamin Cross, sophomore Abhi Vemulapati and freshman Simone Gamble were selected by the judges–Thomas Slabaugh (DHS band director) Carl Schwedler and Kathleen Deagan–to advance to the finals.
Senior Kristen Chastain and junior Andrea Pincilotti were the two People’s Choice finalists selected by the audience to move on as well.
Run by the Advanced Treble Choir (ATC), the show was MC’d by seniors Jasmine Casillas and Ashley Catanyag, who shared fun facts about each contestant before they performed. Slabaugh, Schwedler and Deagan took notes and voiced their criticisms and praise after each performance.
On Friday, Jan. 22, seniors Brady Corcoran and Gabe Reynolds opened the show with three original songs before the contestants were introduced.
Sophomore Ryan Everett started the competition off, singing “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes. He was followed by Cross, who sang “Purpose” from the Broadway musical “Avenue Q.” Cross received a lot of support from the audience and had an incredible stage presence.
Alvarez sang “Paper Hearts” by Tori Kelly, and Vemulapati, who won the fall talent show DHS Factor, sang “Marvin Gaye” by Charlie Puth. As he sang, the crowd clapped along and cheered.
Next, senior Mikaela Manzano sang “Put Your Records On” by Corrine Bailey Rae, senior Michael Pesola sang “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers and junior Rhiannon Elliot sang “I’m Gonna Love You” by Meghan Trainor.
Taking on a song by Adele, Krishnan sang “Make You Feel My Love.” Stepping on stage she looked a little nervous, but as soon as she began to sing she gained confidence. The judges had nearly nothing to criticize, agreeing that the song fit her voice amazingly.
The contestants from the first night had to wait till the following night to find out if they advanced, but Chastain, who sung “Life of the Party” by Shawn Mendes, was announced as the People’s Choice winner on Friday.
“I started off not really telling people about this, and then I kind of got more and more into it and I’m really glad I had people come, and I’m just shocked honestly,” Chastain said, still buzzing from her win.
Following Chastain’s performance, Sonstein sang “It’s Always Better When We’re Together” by Jack Johnson and the crowd loved him.
In her introduction, freshman Alissa Casillas joked about her sister, who was an MC. She sang with strength, belting the chorus of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. Slabaugh said she was the only person to “own the song.”
After intermission, ATC performed “Someone to Watch Over Me” by George and Ira Gershwin.
The DHS band “Banana Jammers,” comprised of seniors Ben Simmons, Alex Timmons and Gabriel Reynolds, opened the second night with their rendition of “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, as well as an original song.
The first contestant, junior Wesley Romer, entered the stage and sang “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Michael Buble. Following Romer, senior Camille Alvarez sang a heartfelt version of “Skinny Love” by Birdy.
Junior MacKenna Herzog followed with her unique and compelling rendition of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. Pincilloti belted out the high notes of “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, wowing the judges with her surprising vocal ability.
Senior Lexie Gomez made the crowd roar with excitement as she sang “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson. Chauhan sang “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals, and Gamble followed, surprising the audience with her vocal talent by singing “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Sia.
Senior Julia Yah impressed the judges and audience with her performance of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. Senior Rose Traxler followed with her version of “Work Song” by Hozier.
DiCarlo closed out the performances with his heart-warming performance of “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor.
After intermission, “Banana Jammers” re-entered the stage to perform an original song titled “Rain Man.” ATC, accompanied by former DHS student and pianist Benjamin Balatbat, came together once more to perform in perfect harmony “Dance on My Heart” by Allen Koepke before the finalists were announced.
“I feel like I did really well and I’m proud of my performance but I’m pretty nervous [for next week] ’cause the competition’s pretty stiff,” Miranda Alvarez said.
“I was honestly proud of myself and overjoyed [to advance],” Pincilotti said. “I’m a really shy and quiet person around strangers so doing something like this in the first place is very challenging for me.”
The red carpet finale is at 7 p.m. in the Brunelle Performance Hall. Tickets are $10 when purchased in advanced from ATC members and $12 at the door.