Three finalists stood on the stage. Holding each other tight, their eyes closed shut as the envelope ripped open.
Arlington Theater buzzed with anticipation on Saturday as more than a 1,000 people packed in to watch and weigh in on this year’s Teen Star. While ten singers went in with vocal victory in mind, it was Andie that walked away with the title.
“I was looking for a star,” said Randy Jackson, who lent his “American Idol” prowess to Saturday night’s competition. “I wasn’t expecting this level of talent. Not this young.”
The showcase began with finalists – Andie Bronstad, Katy Callabero, Lauren Cantin, Bridget DeVine, Meghan Downing, Dawson Fuss, Jericho Guron, Audrey Harmand, Aidan Juan, Madeleine Thomas and alternate Josh Hahs – tackling Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes” in a group number.
Each with high hopes of their own, contestants performed one by one, followed by feedback from the celebrity judges – casting director Eric Stein, singer Justin Fox, radio broadcaster Catherine Remak, and none other than Randy Jackson.
Song choices ranged from Broadway to blues. Cabrillo senior Jericho Guron kicked off the night with a piano arrangement of Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted.” Later, San Marcos sophomore Aidan Juan took on Donny Hathaway, his voice touching every inch of the theater.
Returning Teen Star finalist Lauren Cantin came out with Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good,” making the classic hit her own. Taking a cue from today’s music, San Marcos junior Madeleine Thomas performed Lady Gaga’s “Always Remember Us This Way,” aptly chosen from “A Star is Born.”
Once each contestant took their turn, the decision fell to the crowd. In the end, the results left three sophomores standing – Bridget DeVine, Dawson Fuss and Andie Bronstad. While Bridget took on a showtune and Dawson emerged with his own original ballad, Andie left the crowd in awe with her acoustic cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”
Having started guitar lessons just a few months ago, Andie fussed with her instrument as she prepared for her second performance. Taking each chord by stride, Andie collected her nerves and moved through the song with ease.
Still, after months of work and hours spent practicing in front of her dad, Andie did not expect the final results.
“This is so crazy,” she said. “I can’t believe this. I have no words right now. I’m just so thankful, shocked, humbled and honored.”
As 2020’s Teen Star, Andie has earned an $1000 scholarship, a recording session with world-class studio ParSonics, opportunities for radio and television appearances, and the chance to open for major local events as the year goes on.
But out of everything, Andie is most grateful for her family of fellow contestants.
“Everyone is so talented,” she said. “I hope we can all stay in touch. We’re all so supportive of each other, and I think that’s what I’m going to miss the most.”
Apart from new connections and opportunities, Andie is walking away with new confidence.
“Hard work pays off,” she said. “Going into this, I thought there was a certain way that I had to dress and there was a certain song I had to sing. I just realized that I was gonna do what I was gonna do because that’s what would represent me best.
“I’m just so grateful that being me and doing what I loved got me here.”
As Andie rushed home to celebrate with family and friends, a group of girls approached her for a photo. She looked around and pointed to herself.
“Me? That’s cool.”