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Alessia Bozzo named 2020 Aurora Teen Idol

June 25, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Alessia Bozzo dreams of being on Broadway.

Rehearsing virtually for an upcoming production of the musical Grease in Vaughan, presently slated for the end of this summer, the 14-year-old St. Jerome Catholic Elementary School student took one more step towards her goal last week by securing the crown in Aurora’s 2020 Teen Idol Competition.

Alessia received her sash at Town Hall last week after vying for the title with a number of local girls through a capella auditions held over Zoom earlier this month before a panel of expert judges.

Aurora’s Teen Idol finals are usually held as one of the centrepieces of the Town’s annual Canada Day Celebrations at Lambert Willson Park.

With celebrations going virtual this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, event organizers had to employ some out-of-the-box thinking to ensure the show went on.

“When I started my audition, I had heard all the other girls singing because I was fourth,” says Alessia, recalling what was going through her mind as each contestant waited their turn on the Zoom call. “I was nervous because most of them were really good and I thought, ‘this is going to be a repeat of last time.’”

Alessia is no stranger to the Aurora Teen Idol competition.

Indeed, it is something of a family affair with her sister making the finals in 2018.

“I did this a couple of years ago – my sister got past, but I didn’t, so I took a break between the years, really worked hard on my singing and started taking professional lessons,” says Alessia. “I did shows and stuff because a lot of things went on in my personal life and music just got me through it. I came back this year looking for something to do during ‘Corona’ and this is really cool.”

Keeping her Broadway dreams firmly in her sights, Alessia auditioned with a selection from the musical Anastasia. She connected deeply with the song, she says, but, given her last turn at the microphone in previous years, she was cautious with her optimism.

“I was preparing myself to lose,” she recalls with a chuckle. “Me and some of the other girls were talking over the chat, telling each other how good we were, but the day after was the most nerve-wracking thing for me ever. When I got the email – oh, my God, I was freaking out and it was really fun.

“My sister was really proud of me. She has been my biggest supporter when it comes to music, other than my dad. She was the one who started singing and got me into it. During [my time as Teen Idol] I can say I was able to accomplish something, something I tried hard enough and I proved myself wrong!”

Also going the distance in the 2020 Aurora Teen Idol competition was runner up Shizuka Watanabe, 17, a student at Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School.

Shizuka’s family encouraged her to try out for this year’s competition after spending some of her quarantine time singing around the house.

“My mom was like, ‘You sing a lot around the house. Why don’t you do something with your singing?’” she says. “I didn’t really expect a lot from it, but I thought it would be a fun opportunity, so why not? The song I sang was I’d Rather Be Me from Mean Girls on Broadway. When I first heard the song, I really liked it. I never really looked into the lyrics, but later on, when I did, I found it really resonated with me. It sends out a pretty good message and the message I am trying to send up is I don’t care what you want from me; I will be what I want to be and I won’t shape myself to what you want me to be.”

As she handed out the sashes to Alessia and Shizuka last week, Shelley Ware, Special Events Coordinator for the Town of Aurora, who hosted the 2020 audition round, said despite not being able to spread word about the competition through schools, there was a significant uptake from aspiring singers.

“Doing it on Zoom was a new experience for us, but it was really, really great. It seemed more intimate because we did a dry run the night before so the contestants got to talk to each other the night before, tested out mikes and everything,” she says. “For me, it is always a special experience, but I am so thankful I am not a judge because it is splitting hairs because they were so talented.

“We would love to have an in-person competition [in the future] but each of them were giving each other advice and helping them out and it really made it feel like a team effort.”

By Brock Weir



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