By Karen Brainard
After weeks of auditions and three nights of competition, Ramona Idol culminated Sunday night at the country fair with former idols entertaining and announcing the 2012 winners.
Winners were beaming after receiving their awards. For several of them, it was their first year competing in Ramona Idol.
“It was awesome. It was such an honor just to place,” said Chantal Ranzolin-Gamboa, who came in third in the 11-15 year olds.
This was also the first year for Eunice Pelayo, who came in third in the adult division. She just happened to be at Cheers Bar & Grill when they were doing auditions and decided to give it a try.
Sunday’s awards ceremony was a good night for Samantha Green Haney and her daughter, Leah.
Samantha, a first-time competitor, won the adult division, and Leah won the 11-15 age division. Samantha said her daughter talked her into competing and she will be performing at a benefit later this year.
Leah, whose performances included the song “Good Girl,” said, “I’ve been singing since I’ve been 3. I enjoy being in front of people.”
Second place adult division winner Sandy Teichert also mentioned her love for performing.
“I just like having an audience,” she said, adding that, if the audience is as happy as she is, she feels good.
Casey Travis who energized the audience with his Sunday night performance of “Twist and Shout,” took first in the 16-20 year olds. Casey said he’s been singing and acting since fourth grade and frequently travels to Los Angeles for auditions. He has been in various commercials, has an agent and a manager, and performs for a charity for foster kids in LA.
“I can’t wait to be in a movie or TV show,” said Casey.
Third place winner in the teen division, Meaghan Duvalian, also travels to LA for competitions.
“I sing all the time,” she said. This fall she will be attending Azusa Pacific University.
“I go everywhere I can to sing,” said People’s Choice award winner Wendy Whitney, who sang in the 11-15 year old division.
In the Tiny division, 9-year-old Devon Diamond, who came in second, and 8-year-old Jadyn Hogan, who came in first, were pleased with their awards.
“I am very excited,” Devon said with a grin.
Also wearing a huge smile was Jadyn who said her songs included “Amazing Grace” and “Almost There.”
Acting as hosts for Sunday evening were former idol winners Kim Whitney and Brenna Brean. They acknowledged all those who contributed to this year’s contest, organized by Gin Boughner with assistance from Katrina Jensen.
Ramona Idol Winners
Tiny division, ages 5-10
1st place: Jadyn Hogan
2nd place: Devon Diamond
3rd place: Alexavia Zetterberg
Junior division, ages 11-15
1st place: Leah Green Haney
2nd place: Nicole Pilon
3rd place: Chantal Ranzolin-Gamboa
Teen division, ages 16-20
1st place: Casey Travis
2nd place: Elizabeth Groenwald
3rd place: Meaghan Duvalian
1st place: Samantha Green Haney
2nd place: Sandy Teichert
3rd place: Eunice Pelayo
People’s Choice Award