Emily Brady, 13, wins $500 and performance opportunities

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK  - A Centennial Middle School eighth-grader, Emily Brady sings, acts and plays piano, along with serving on the student council. On July 21, Brady won Portland Teen Idol.

A Centennial Middle School eighth-grader stood before about 300 people at the Multnomah Arts Center, anxiously awaiting the results.

After announcing fourth and fifth place, it came down to “the Emilys” and one other.

The youngest of the final five, Emily Brady held her breath.

That Sunday, July 21, Brady, 13, emerged the champion of Portland Teen Idol, winning $500 and the opportunity to perform at Portland Parks Recreation’s Movies in the Park and the Oregon State Fair this summer.

“Each round, I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Brady said. “Being in the top 5 was very dramatic.”

Brady was one of about 200 teens from around the metro area who auditioned for Portland Teen Idol in May. She made it through three rounds of performances before winning the seventh season of the talent competition.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK  - Brady will perform at summer movies in Portland parks and the Oregon State Fair after winning Portland Teen Idol.

For her final songs, Brady sang Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason.”

Judge Michael Allen Harrison said it was Brady’s “Disney star quality” that ultimately gave her the edge. Had his young daughter been in the audience, Harrison said Brady would have been her favorite performer.

Other judges included Amy Roloff, Natasha Neuschwander and Mac Potts.

The youngest of six siblings, Brady grew up in a family that loves to sing and has been singing with her sisters for as long as she can remember.

At the encouragement of her school choir director, Brady auditioned for Portland Teen Idol in May. She never dreamed she’d make the cut, let alone the final five.

Most recently, Brady and her older sister, Erica, have been singing a duet of Anna Kendrick’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone” (Cup Song) and the “National Anthem.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK  - Emily Brady comes from a musical family and enjoys singing with her older sister Erica, left. Her mother Shelly, right, said the family was delightfully surprised to see Emily win as one of the youngest contestants.

Brady will perform the “National Anthem” at a national body-building competition in Vancouver later this month.

Along with singing, Brady plays the piano and is involved with theater and student council. So far, she’s collected credits for “The Wizard of Oz,” “Mulan” and “Honk!”

Brady wouldn’t mind one day making it onto “American Idol,” but for now she’s delighted to have won Portland Teen Idol.

“We told her, ‘You’re only 13 — you don’t need to be nervous. Just have fun,’” said Shelly Brady, Emily’s mother.

Previous Portland Teen Idol winners have gone on to compete in national competitions.

Aubrey Cleland, the 2009 Portland Teen Idol runner up, made it to the top 20 in season 12 of “American Idol” earlier this year.

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