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Local students advance to finals in teen talent competition

Audrianna Bartholomew

Audrianna Bartholomew

Metro area high school acts competed in the semi-final round of the 6th Annual St. Louis Teen Competition. St. Louis performing arts professionals judged the acts and narrowed the field to 22 finalists [12 acts] who will move on to the finals on April 23 at The Fabulous Fox Theatre.

Included among the finalists are Audrianna Bartholomew, a vocalist from Fort Zumwalt West High and senior Nikki Jones, a dancer from St. Charles West High who will be performing with her partner, Joe Floww from Hazelwood West High.

Bartholomew participated in the competition last year, winning a vocal performance award.

“It’s such a historic venue, so it’s just an honor to be able to sing there. I’m mostly excited to get to experience performing at the Fox for a second time,” Bartholomew said. This year for the final competition, she will be singing “Listen” by Beyonce.

At 17, Bartholomew has an impressive resume, including a long list of awards and titles. She performed in the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival last summer and recently opened for music groups Tyga and Kid Ink in Los Angeles. In addition to her performances, she also works at a local children’s salon in Cottleville as Princess Tiana and is a worship leader at Faith Church. While pursuing her singing and acting passions, Bartholomew keeps her grades a priority and is currently maintaining a 4.2 GPA.

Unfortunately, she must miss her senior prom to be in the finals. While she admits it will be hard to miss such a special occasion, she says she is thrilled to do something so fulfilling and rewarding in its place.

“The contestants have become close to me, so it’s not really a competition anymore, it’s a performance that I get to do with my friends,” Bartholomew said.

The same day Bartholomew made the finals, she also earned a place in the state solo competition and, later in the week, earned first place in the school talent show.

Nikki Jones didn’t start dancing until her freshman year, but it didn’t take long for her to put in the work needed to get to a competitive level. Jones and her partner have only been dancing as a duo since last October.

“As my partner and I prepared for the competition, we tried to come up with different ways to keep our routine interesting. That was our biggest challenge. As we got more into the choreography, it became easier on us,” Jones said. “Since my partner has to miss his prom, I’m going to give this all I’ve got going into the final round.”

Jones’ partner, Joe Floww said, “This is my second year trying out for the competition and I couldn’t be more excited and honored to make it and be part of the top 12 acts out of 178. We definitely put our own flavor into the dance to make it a fun-filled original and I can’t wait to debut it at the Fox.”

Tony Parise, Broadway actor, director, choreographer and St. Louis native, returns for his sixth year to write the script and direct the finals.

“The St. Louis Teen Talent Competition renews my faith in our community and its future. After a long and successful Broadway career, and having directed and choreographed all over the world, it is fantastic to bring it all back home and work with such wonderful local talent,” Parise said.

Parise will be working with choreographer Yvonne Meyer Hare [also a St. Louis native] to prepare the final acts, which include a variety of singers, classical and contemporary pianists, and hip hop, contemporary and ballet dancers.

More than $30,000 in scholarships and prizes will be distributed among the top competitors. Finalists will also have the opportunity to perform at area events throughout the year.

The Fox Theatre reintroduced the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition in 2011 to showcase the St. Louis region’s most talented teens in the performing arts. The 2015 winner was Tiala Taylor, a contemporary dancer from Fort Zumwalt North High. Taylor, now a freshman dance major at Lindenwood University, will perform on April 23.

The final competition is a Broadway-style show that is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and available at no charge at The Fox box office and through Metrotix.

For more information, visit www.foxpacf.org.

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