On Sunday, Teen Star Santa Barbara took place live at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. Teen Star had to take a hiatus in 2021 due to the Covid-10 Pandemic.
Melody Hilario, 13, a student at Lompoc Valley Middle School, won the competition.
After the opening number, the Teen Star finalists were introduced. The judges panel consisted of Randy Jackson, Leslie Lembo and Eric Stein.
Tariqh Akoni, guitarist and musical director for Josh Groban, was one of the mentors. Ben Margulies, a songwriter and producer, was the other. Each contestant got to spend a day being coached by Mr. Marguiles and Mr. Akoni.
Something unique about Teen Star is that the audience gets to participate by voting for each contestant. The judges talked about what they look for in Teen Star as opposed to when they are older. Mr. Jackson said he looks for uniqueness in song choice, Ms. Lembo said she looks for authenticity and Mr. Stein said he looks for how the performer impacts the audience.
After performances by the contestants, finalists Grace Hu, a Dos Pueblos High School sophomore, Melody Hilario, a seventh-grader from Lompoc Valley Middle School and Bridget Divine, a Santa Barbara High School senior advanced to the final round. In an unusual event for Teen Star, a fourth contestant performed during the finalist round, Sophia Hernandez of Bishop Diego High School.