Photo gallery: 14 young singers wow judges, grab votes at Valley Idol Jr

McKenna Esteb, winner of the Sno Valley Idol Junior 2012 competition, at Mount Si High School.  - Courtesy image
McKenna Esteb, winner of the Sno Valley Idol Junior 2012 competition, at Mount Si High School.
— image credit: Courtesy image

McKenna Esteb remembers watching the pop star Beyonce sing "Halo," an ethereal song about love, on the "Hope for Haiti" telethon in 2010. She was drawn to the sound of the song.

"I liked what she meant by it," says the 13-year-old Chief Kanim middle schooler.

Esteb exuberantly sang the hit as a first-time participant in the eighth annual Sno Valley Idol Junior talent finals. She was voted champion by audience vote, one of 14 young finalists who put on a show filled with talent and enthusiasm Friday, March 30, at the Mount Si High School auditorium.

Runner-up Annie Bruckner, an eighth grader from Twin Falls Middle School, wowed the crowd with the song ”There Are Worse Things” by Stockard Channing from the movie “Grease.” Third place winner is Tori Rose, a sixth grader from Snoqualmie Middle School with a performance of “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan.

Third place winner Tori Rose sang "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan.


The judges

A panel of three music industry professionals—Annmarie Farris, singer Susanna Fuller and Boxley’s owner Danny Kolke—served as judges, scoring contestants on natural ability, quality of performance, showmanship and audience appeal. They had the very difficult task of narrowing the field of 14 to the top three finalists before the final audience vote for the overall winner.

Valley Idol Junior judges Danny Kolke, Annmarie Farris and Susanna Fuller.


Big crowd

Si View staff tallied votes from the crowd of over 220 attendees during intermission to determine the outcome. Master of Ceremonies Jeff Warren had the honor of announcing the results.

Esteb’s grand prize includes a $50 shopping spree courtesy of the North Bend Premium Outlets, a $10 Visa cash card courtesy of State Farm Insurance, and invitations to perform at upcoming local community festivals.

Looking ahead, Esteb wants to perform more, get in front of audiences. She's got some Adele songs she'd like to sing, too. They're slow, and good for her range.

"They also give me a challenge," she said. "I can play them on the piano."

At Chief Kanim Middle School, her favorite subject is language arts. She's getting into basketball and soccer.

She thanks her father, Curt, and her grandfather, Steve Rackets, for taking her to church to help her practice on the stage. "My dad has given me a lot of support to get to the point where I'm at."

Learn more about Si View programs and volunteerism at

Contestant Coraly Miller, onstage with rose and gifts


Contestant Brionna Bilotta is congratulated by emcee Jeff Warren.


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