Last Saturday, the walls of the Arlington pulsated with the excitement of more than 1,000 folks who gathered to watch the 10 finalists of Santa Barbara’s Teen Star vie for vocal sovereignty. Teen Star offers young singers an opportunity to compete against their peers in a format akin to American Idol with the winner receiving myriad prizes including a $1,000 scholarship from the S.B. Bowl Foundation and a recording session with On the Wave productions.
This year’s hopefuls, who came from schools throughout Santa Barbara County, performed songs from myriad genres and showed impressive vocal chops. Contestants took the stage one by one, sang their song, and then received feedback from the celebrity judges — Grammy Award winner Kenny Loggins, K-LITE deejay and news director Catherine Remak, and PCPA’s casting director Erik Stein — who offered thoughtful, important feedback to the teens.
Ranging in age from 12 to 17 years old, the finalists wowed with singing skills, which belied their tender ages. After impressive turns by all of the contestants, three were chosen — Hunter Hawkins (Laguna Blanca), Nolan Montgomery (Dos Pueblos), and Rachel Guron (Cabrillo High) — to move to the final round based on the judges’ and audience members’ votes. All three nailed their performances, making choosing a winner difficult. In the end, the title of Teen Star 2017 went deservedly to Montgomery. It was a thrilling night filled with amazing music sung by an incredibly talented group.