Music Heals


I was a newcomer to Santa Barbara and didn’t know much about the Teen Star USA contest until I met 2015 winner Sydney Shalhoob and decided to enter the contest.  Following an audition, I was one of ten finalists who would perform at the Arlington Theatre where audience text voting and voting by 3 celebrity judges would determine the winner.  The weeks leading up to the finale were exciting!  The finalists met weekly at Santa Barbara Dance Arts with a choreographer in preparation for a group number they would perform and had a recording studio and mentor session with music legend Barry De Vorzon.

On February 27, 2016, the limousines pulled up to the Arlington Theatre with the teen finalists and the red carpet was rolled out!  KEYT TV was there to interview each finalist and welcome the celebrity judges.

Each finalist sang their first number and were evaluated by the celebrity judges. I sang “The Sky Is Crying” by Elmore James.  I had just started to learn guitar so I accompanied myself. Before intermission the text voting began.  After the intermission, the first of the three finalists were announced and the first to step onto the stage was me! I decided to wear a tuxedo and stepped onto the stage with a piano accompanist and sang “Nessun Dorma” by Puccini.  Following the song the judges and the audience rose to their feet and gave me a standing ovation.   It was the first standing ovation in Teen Star USA history.

Later in the evening following a second round of text voting, I was crowned Teen Star USA 2016!!  I am so grateful I entered the Teen Star USA competition and that I had the opportunity to be meet all of the dedicated volunteers who help this organization.