Watchung's Ruth Sachariah was named the runner-up in the Watchung Arts Center's 2012 NJ IDOL vocal competition Saturday, after Jessie Villa, of Mendham, won the contest's grand prize.
The competition drew 35 singers from all areas of New Jersey including Newark, Nutley, Toms River and Bridgewater to the Feb. 18 auditions. Of those, 20 advanced to the semi-finals, held Feb. 25, from which 10 finalists were named.
Four Warren residents, Jessica Kundla, Alyssa Puccio, Sherry Cortese and Andrew Guerra, had advacned to the semi-final round, but did not make the finals.
The sold out finals performance included Charisa Dowe, Newark; Alexa Pantaleo, Freehold; Sara E. Pike, Madison; Juliette Reilly, Berkeley Heights; Analisa Rotella, Denville; Cecilia Salvino, Branchburg; Ruth Sachariah, who goes by the surname "Sariah" in performance; Alice Tuberty-Vaughan, Gillette; Destiny Tucker, Lopatcong; Jessie Villa, Mendham.
For her first place finish, Villa received a $500 cash prize, provided by the Watchung Arts Center. Sariah received a two-hour recording session with S.R.A. Studios of Scotch Plains, and third-place finisher Alexa Pantaleo, of Freehold, received a formal publicity portrait with photography done by Nancy Ori in Berkeley Heights.
All three finalists will also receive a half-hour career consultation by Music City East, LLC.
Judging the competition was done by recording artist Lisa Coppola, hit songwriter Lisa Drew, entertainment attorney Lou Takacs, and songwriter/producer/manager Mark D. Conklin.
This event is not associated or affiliated with American Idol, its sponsors, producers or participants.