History of Teen Idol SEASONS
Started in 2006 with 2007 being the first competition year, TI was created by Portland Parks & Recreation as "Portland
Teen Idol" by South
Seasons 1 & 2 had considerable budget allowing marketing and promotion for the English only competition designed to
identify students that can perform prior to their "Movies in the Park" (MITP) events thereby reducing that program's cost and
helped get students off the street into a safe and productive program that helped them get hands on experience. S1/2007
Winner: Charlie Danger (as Jordan Thompson) and S2/2008 Winner: Cameron Quick (as Jeff Quigley). Dennis Gleason
and Dark Wing Productions produced a Television segment out of the 2008 Semi-Finals and Finale and filmed many
summer performances that year. Charlie ended up in the top 25 of Nashville Star and opened for Hart.
Seasons 3 & 4, the program was internally transferred to the teen scene department to run program. This transition also
changed staff from qualified entertainment professionals that had created the program to an inexperienced employee that
had no experience with the program, no knowledge and no experience of the industry, marketing or project management
which marked the decline of the program under the city.
S3/2009 Winner Gabriella Quintero and S4/2010 Winner Jeyonna Barr. With the re-organization, none of the sponsors,
supporters or people that made the program great in past years, were invited to participate in these years. Although
program creator from PPR contracted Dark Wing Productions each year to produce the pre-movies Director's message,
filming of the idols were limited to parks performances.
Season 5 the program transferred to Dark Wing Productions under Dennis Gleason. The transfer was required for various
reasons, not all 100% disclosed but individuals close to the program saw an extreme decline in the program due to the
inexperienced staff that was running it and the number of students involved had hit an all-time low under that management.
With DWP being both a city contractor with over 500 television segments under their belt at that time, it was a natural
Additionally, the new owner who helped with Teen Idol in 2008 as the television producer with a teen son Gabe Gleason at
that time that made it to live rounds on America's Got Talent and currently is a former 6 year executive with the Oregon
Media Production Association, the only organization in Oregon to promote entertainment production incentives and
Haley Ward, a 14 year old middle school student from Gladstone won S5 in 2011 as the first year under Dark Wing
Productions unfolded with their first performance only 3 days after their finale at the state capital in front of the entire Oregon
House - a perk of having the house chairperson's son as a finalist that placed 2nd in final competition. This first year was
also a test year for DWP that the City required to ensure that the program would be run as good as or better than they did -
with essentially 15% of the budget as consideration. Also turned out 3rd runner up Lovey James (as Kiersten Bundy) who
eventually ranked top 24 of season 14 of American Idol.
Season 6 - 2012 was a pinnacle year for the program as both Spanish and Stand-up competitions were added to the list of
competitions that saw Hailey Kilgore (Eng), Shani Plunkett (Span) and Alex Milshtein (aka Max Van Bureau)
(Stand-up) as winners. Contests were added to introduce diversity and expand the program beyond what it's model
American Idol was doing without morphing into what America's Got Talent was doing and truly becoming a one of a kind
program that involved multiple talents and multiple languages. We held a free workshop at Centennial MS (CMS) this year
as well, the largest student influx in that year with 67 total schools, 27 were from CMS alone.
2013 Added Volunteer Service requirement for Season 7 with Emily Brady (Eng) and Daniel Nouynai-Herrera (Span) as
winners but with a reduction of city funding, saw the Volunteer and Workshop programs and standup comedy programs
tabled due to the amount available was reduced to much less than in 2012.
Related to what was Portland Teen Idol, the city of Beaverton's "Mayor's Youth Advisory Board"(MYAB) which 2012 Teen
Idol (TI) finalist Geetha Somayajula and TI volunteer Erin Cochran help create it with Dennis Gleason's help forming the
first ever Beaverton Teen Idol program designed to be partners with TI. The collaboration went as far as using DWP paper
applications, TI processes and students that tried out for the program automatically were entered into our program and the
winner of the program was permitted to go on tour with our finalists. Jen Rushen, 2009 Finalist, became a lead judge for the
2014 we attempted to add Russian in addition to the other Non-English programs for Season 8 but funding shortfalls fell to all
time lows, requiring us to cancel Spanish, Russian and Standup despite having had contestants tryout out for them. As it
stood, the amount of funding was even less than 2013 requiring the producer to foot a portion of the bill out of his own
pocket. We dropped the "Portland" part of the name to just "Teen Idol". Jen Rushen was promoted to Event Coordinator
2014 the program also converted to a nonprofit under newly formed Dark Wing Foundation that would take into 2016 to
actually become incorporated to allow for fundraising that was just not possible as a community program. This also marked
the final year for the Beaverton Teen Idol (BTI), program under the city of Beaverton as the MYAB changed priorities. BTI
was absorbed by the newly renamed Teen Idol program. Chloe Voeller Wins this season, with Savannah Panah second
and Quantrell Bryant third.
2015 retired the logo used for 5 years to mark the renovated program coming in 2016. This was the first year that all 4
contests were completed with winners and finalists went on tour. Although the tour requirement was removed from the
Russian Winner due to lack of performance opportunities to sing in Russian in front of a Russian audience where as the
Spanish and Standup students had opportunity to perform several times. Also new for 2015 was the use of a full step &
repeat backdrop behind the singers when auditioning and red carpet to go with it at competition rounds that brought the
program and potential sponsors to a new level.
Season 9 also brought a record number of performances in both Oregon and Washington which included many county fairs
and pageants, sometimes double booking events that resulted in a record 28 performances throughout the summer tour that
officially Breana Eubanks (Eng Singing); Emily Lara (Spanish), Sean Oulashin (Standup) and Jessica Vasilenko
(Russian). 2009 Finalist Jen Rushen was also promoted to be Director of the English program with some residual support
of the other competitions.
2016 Season 10 we did a rebranding to a new look, new format and added non-competitive programs. Due to mid season
unannounced budget cuts after we had been working with the City as we have always done, we, like many organizations, lost
funding as a record $2 million dollars that were allocated for our type of program but the parks department decided to give it
to large organizations in bulk and everyone else lost out. Ironically, those $2 million for teen programs, came out of the
budget that Teen Idol helped them raise at their bond rally in 2015. Tyleah Young places first with Jade Swim and former
Semi-Finalist Ashlynn Samp third.
2017 started out with curiosity and excitement as new Executive Director Krystal Davis was brought on so that former
director Jen Rushen could focus on her masters. With her brought new sponsors and now raising enough to pay for last
year's deficit but still need additional funding to complete this season. Sophia Takla won with Former Semi-Finalist Natalie
Braley placing second and former Semi-finalist Ramsey McNabb taking third. We had 29 students try out for American
Idol and two - Jesse Rosario and Madison Shanley made it through.
The volunteer team is now officially "Teen Idol Volunteers" program that is for both those that volunteer to help the program,
and those, including contestants and alumni, that are or were in the program, volunteering for other non profits like the SOLV
and other charity programs.
An official "Teen Idol Alumni Association" was created that allows semi-Finalists, Finalists, staff, volunteers, sponsors and
parents of former finalists/semi-finalists to be able to stay engaged at whatever level they wish to be involved and again
promote Teen Idol.
2018 Season 12 is here already, 501C3 completed, now a working Parent Association and have added a dance
competition. Looking for contestants through end of February as well as sponsors for the new season.