Dougherty Valley student sings as a finalist in Valley Teen Idol contest

Dougherty Valley freshman Vaishnavi Melkote performed in the final rounds of the San Ramon Valley Rotary Club’s 10th annual Valley Teen Idol contest for singers and bands on Mar. 29.

Valley Teen Idol is a competition that is held once a year since 2005, which loosely models the popular singing show and competition, “American Idol”.

The Valley Teen Idol is one of many youth services the San Ramon Rotary Club hosts, including a Bill Gregory Scholarship, a four-way Speech Contest and the San Ramon Interact Club.

The competition is actually a fundraiser for music programs in the area.  Any teenager in San Ramon can audition for a spot in the competition.

The beginning audition process, according to Melkote, involved auditioning in front of four to five judges, who recorded the singer’s audition.  From there, they selected a group to move forward in the process.  In the next round, contestants sang in front of both judges and an audience, and based on both the audience and judges’ votes, 15 teens were selected to move on to the finals.  The top three with the most votes take home first, second and third prize.  Votes are calculated from both a little more than half of the total audience votes and the judges’ recommendations.

Melkote was excited about making it to the semi-final round.

“The person called me and told me and I was so happy that I made it through,” she said.  “This is my first competition.”

After making it through this initial round, Melkote competed with students from ages 13-17 at the San Ramon Performing Arts Center on Mar. 19. There, in combination with high audience votes and the judges’ recommendations, she was selected as a finalist.

Finalists performed in front of an audience and a panel of four judges: Adam’s Attic bass guitarist Derek Henry, Peter Govorchin, singer Stevie Rae Stephens and San Ramon Rotary Club President Debora Killeen.

Melkote performed one of her favorite pieces, a song from the film “Cinema Paradiso” called “Ce”.

Despite some initial nerves, Melkote went into the finals in high spirits.

“Mainly I [just] love to perform and sing,” she said.

Although Melkote did not win, she was still happy to be in the competition overall and felt pleased with her performance.

“I think I did pretty well. The whole thing was audience-based voting, so I think that support is very useful,” she said.