WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange Idol returned to the town after a 16-year absence, allowing residents of all ages to show off their skills in the talent show and crowning three winners at Edison Middle School on July 21. The event, organized by the Downtown West Orange Alliance, asked residents to bring their talent to the stage and had a panel of three judges critique the singers, dancers, magicians and musicians. One judge, Lynette Sheard, took home the West Orange Idol trophy at the original event in 2002.
“It’s a nice break for a summer afternoon,” Councilman Jerry Guarino, the Township Council’s liaison to the DWOA, said in an interview with the West Orange Chronicle at the event. “I love doing this; it’s good to see kids perform. It brings people downtown and brings everyone together.”
Singer Thomas Pearson took home first prize, while 14-year-old Sarah Parker, another singer, won second place. Tamia Blackwell, also 14, earned third place with her dance moves.
“I loved the way the West Orange community embraced this event,” Megan Brill, the executive director of the DWOA, told the Chronicle in an email on July 22. “Everyone was supportive of each of the performers, and we proved what a talented town we have.”
Photos by Amanda Valentovic and Courtesy of Megan Brill