Twenty aspiring teen singers arrived ready to belt it out in the first round of auditions for this year’s Teen Star competition Thursday at Santa Maria’s Pioneer Valley High School.
The popular event drew singers from seventh to 12th grades. The contestants sang a cappella in front of a panel of judges, including singer-songwriter Patti Castillo, KTYD’s Lin Aubuchon, and Don Katich, director of news operations at the News-Press.
No decisions were made Thursday as there will be a further round of auditions Saturday and Sunday at Santa Barbara High.
“This year the bar has been raised,” said Joe Lambert, executive director of Teen Star.
The increasing popularity of the competition has meant more talent, more singers, and a large range of selections (although Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was performed three separate times during the auditions).
At the end of Sunday, 10 finalists (and two alternates) will be announced at 8 p.m. on facebook.com/teenstarsb.