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Lake Oswego singer is runner-up in Portland Teen Idol contest

by: CAROLYN HOARD - Wilsonville's Jemima Bertrand sings a solo in the finale's opening song, 'Somebody to Love.'Listening to the young finalists of the seventh season of Portland Teen Idol, it was easy to imagine their imminent futures as stars on the radio or Broadway.

It was Sunday night, July 21, and the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland was filled with a proud audience of family members and friends, all there to support the 15 talented singers. Out of hundreds of aspiring teens who began the Teen Idol process, this group of 15 made it to the finale and they were there to win.

Dennis Gleason, director and producer of the contest, committed his support and time to help the singers learn about the music industry, further their singing careers and get experience in performing throughout Portland and at the Oregon State Fair in Salem.

“We’re excited to see 2009 Portland Teen Idol runner-up Aubrey Cleland (of West Linn) make it to 11th place on ‘American Idol’ this season and I hope our finalists this year aim just as high,” Gleason said.

Composer Michael Allen Harrison, celebrity Amy Roloff from “Little People, Big World,” local performer Mac Potts and singer Natasha Neuschwander were this season’s judges, offering words of praise and advice after each performance and ultimately deciding the outcome of the finale.

Emily Brady from Centennial Middle School won the competition with her performances of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink and Nate Ruess.

Nicole Leduc, who will be attending Lake Oswego High School this fall, was the runner-up with her fun stage presence while singing “Bubbly” by Colbie Caillat and “Titanium” by David Guetta. The judges were excited about her confidence and ability to tell a story through song. Her ambition for singing is to “glorify the Lord,” and she aspires to sing a capella, Broadway and to do more studio work. Leduc is already an accomplished singer and has songs on iTunes and announced that her new album is coming up. To other singers, she says, “When it comes to competition, work overpowers talent. Try new things and be open to advice.”

West Linn’s Olivia Klugman was the first contestant to perform in round one, singing a jazzy and sassy rendition of “Rumor Has it” by Adele. The judges praised her beautiful pitch, confidence and ability to soar with the music. In the second round, she performed the Dixie Chicks’ version of “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks, which demonstrated her versatility of styles and her well-trained voice.by: CAROLYN HOARD - Olivia Klugman from West Linn sings the Dixie Chicks' version of 'Landslide' in round two of the finale at Portland Teen Idol.

Klugman attended West Linn High School as a freshman, then transferred to Wilsonville High School her sophomore year for its music and drama offerings.

“I sing in their competitive a capella choir Soul’d Out,” Klugman said. “And I played the lead in the musical, ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie.’”

Another Wilsonville High School student, Jemima Bertrand, performed “Love on Top” by Beyonce and “At Last” by Etta James. The judges were impressed by Bertrand’s dancing moves and her rare ability to perfect the high notes of the songs.

Bertrand has been singing in church since she was 2 years old and was the youngest in the gospel choir. She sings for the Boys and Girls Club and is in the a capella group at Wilsonville High School.

A few seasons ago, she made the semifinals in Teen Idol, and she was proud to be a finalist this season. Her advice for other singers? “Don’t stop singing, always give 100 percent and make it your own,” she said.

The 15 finalists will continue to perform this summer on tour at venues including movies in the park, the state fair and Summer Rock. The singers are required to volunteer at least 10 hours over the summer at nonprofits and help with the Oregon Food Bank.

For more information about Portland Teen Idol, visit portlandteenidol.com.

by: CAROLYN HOARD - Director Dennis Gleason stands with the top three finalists of Portland Teen Idol, from left, Emilee Brnusak, Emily Brady and Lake Oswego native Nicole Leduc.