Four Downtown Sounds Teen Idol Finalists Move to Next Round

The opening night of the Downtown Sounds concert series had a new element as five teens braved the stage for the first Downtown Sounds Teen Idol contest.

Charlotte Marchioli kicked off the contest with “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys.

On July 1, Decade of Soul entertained the large crowd in downtown Glen Cove’s Village Square for the first concert of the season, with the contest taking place during the band’s intermission. Keeping in the genre of the concert, each contestant performed a Motown or R&B song in front of the audience and judges, singing popular hits by artists ranging from Alicia Keys to Stevie Wonder to an enthusiastic crowd.  

Lexi Briones sang “Love” by Keyshia Cole during the contest.

Charlotte Marchioli, 16, of Sea Cliff; Lexi Briones, 13, of Glen Cove; Jaida Ciampi, 15, of Glen Cove; and Michael Renga, 14, of Glen Cove wowed the audience with their talent. Finalist Shye Roberts, 15, of Glen Cove, was unable to attend due to illness, but was still allowed to participate through an audio recording submitted to the judges.

While the contest is judged each week by three industry professionals, audience participation is encouraged to help determine which contestants should go to the next round. Ballots were available for audience members to vote on their top four choices.

Channeling Stevie Wonder, Michael Renga performed “For Once In My Life” while Jaida Ciampi sang Diana Ross's "Baby Love."

Lexi, Charlotte, Michael and Shye will return to the stage for the next round, performing country and western songs during Downtown Sounds on Friday at The Rustlers concert.

“This year, the Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Downtown Sounds,” Patricia Holman, executive director of the Downtown BID said, “and we thought, what better way to celebrate this milestone than to include the youth of our community in our celebration.”

Open to ages 13 to 18, contestants first submitted an audition video, and those selected were asked to prepare for a live performance, held in Village Square on May 18. The top five finalists were chosen to perform during Downtown Sounds this month. Each week, with the community’s help, the judges will determine who will go to the next round, until a winner emerges after the fifth concert. The winner will receive $750 and a two-hour session at Tiki Recording Studios.

The official contest judges are Eddie Profet, a professional musician who plays bass guitar and is currently a member of five bands, including The Doobie Others; Lou-Ann Thompson, vice president of the Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District, who began playing guitar when she was 14 and has sung and played guitar in several bands over the years; and Fred Guarino, owner of Tiki Recording Studios in Glen Cove and chair of the Downtown Sounds Committee. However, if any of the judges are not able to attend a concert, the performance is recorded, and a special guest judge is also chosen to step in. Filling in for Thompson on Friday was Prentiss McNeil, a member of Decade of Soul and an original member of The Drifters.

The contest will continue this Friday during The Rustlers concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m.  Ballots will again be available at the BID table so audience members can cast their votes.
“These teens have a lot of talent, and choosing finalists has been tough on the judges,” Holman said. “We need the community’s help to select the winners and hope to see an even larger crowd this week.”