By Eddie Grant
Maria Panaligan, 12, recently beat off a field of eight contestants to win the title of Miss Yorkgate Idol at Yorkgate Mall in Toronto.
The other winners were Amir Zadegan, 18, 1st runner-up and Deandrea Kelly, 18, who was placed 2nd runner-up. It was a tightly fought competition as all three contestants were popular with the audience.
Yorkgate Idol competition was formed in 2009, primarily to give youngsters in the Jane -Finch corridor something positive to look forward to.
It is also geared towards youngsters between the ages of 13 - 20 who are interested in a career in the entertainment industry. Maria said she enjoys singing and has been performing at events around the community.
“Friends who always hear me singing, encouraged me to take part in the competition and for the past ten weeks I have been busy rehearsing and now it finally paid off,” she said. Amir’s rendition of Beres Hammond’s “Rock Away” was also popular.
“I loved that song from the first time I heard it and was practicing it a lot until I got it right,” he said. His interest is music and he is currently working on a CD which is due to be released in the Fall.
It will be a mixture of R&B, reggae and hip-hop. “I try to fit all genres of music on the CD so that it will appeal to a cross section of the community,” he said.
Deandra said at first she was hesitant about entering the competition but friends encouraged her to do so and she is glad she did. Her version of Beyonce’s popular song, The Best Thing that ever Happened to Me earned her sustained applause.
“This performance here today and the crowd’s reaction is an encouragement for me to continue singing, something I dearly love,” she said. The dance group, D-Sharpe, also performed at the event.