Young Idol field narrowed to nine

And then there were nine.

The first finalist has been voted off the Modesto Symphony Orchestra's Young Idol competition, leaving nine talented youngsters left to compete for another week.

Athena Williford of Stockton, 14, was voted out of the competition this week. Meanwhile, the top three vote-getters (in no particular order) were Justin Alvaji of Turlock, 17, Freddy Lemmo of Salida, 13, and Colton Pometta of Newman, 16.

The field had been narrowed from more than 120 children and teens, ages 3 through 17, to 10 finalists. You can vote at

The winner of the talent contest will perform at the symphony's Holiday Pops concert at the Gallo Center for the Arts, in addition to winning a number of prizes. Demo recordings, video clips and short biographies of performers are now available at

youngidol. Readers vote for their favorites online, with one hopeful being eliminated each week.

Besides Alvaji, Lemmo and Pometta, the remaining finalists are: Kaitlyn Ednave of Modesto, 14; Ashley Gomez of Denair, 13; Isaak Olson of Turlock, 17; Emily Shrader of Modesto, 15; Tessa Silva of Sonora, 15; and Natalie Tout-Masnica of Turlock, 10.

In addition to singing at the symphony's holiday performances at the Gallo Center in December, the winner will receive limo service on the night of the concert, dinner for four at Bacchus restaurant, complimentary concert tickets for family members, a spa package, a $100 gift card to Vintage Faire Mall and the chance to record a CD for free at Celestial Sounds studio in Modesto.

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