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Move over Carrie and Clay — there’s a new ‘Idol’ in town! • Brooklyn Paper

Move over Carrie and Clay — there’s a new ‘Idol’ in town!

Stephanie Cochrane belts out Spring Awakening’s “Mama Who Bore Me.”
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Park Slope eighth-grader Austin Zambito-Valente hit the high note when he sang “I Who Have Nothing” at Brooklyn’s first Teen Idol contest — and came away with $500.

The mop-topped Berkeley Carroll School student earned himself the top prize on Saturday after out-warbling 18 other adolescent nightingales at Adelphi Academy, where he wowed the judges with his velvet-voiced rendition of the 1960s’ Ben E. King ballad.

Austin became a fan of the song after hearing it on one of his favorite shows — “American Idol,” what else?

“Some tunes just get stuck in your head,” chirped the borough’s newest lark, who practiced the dulcet ditty around the house, drawing sweet reviews from family and friends.

The bathroom rehearsals paid off, and Austin has been singing on cloud nine ever since, chuckled his proud mom, Lynn.

“He has the $500 pinned to his bedroom wall!”

The youngster is already a stage veteran at the ripe age of 13: He played the lead in a local production of “Oliver” as a 3-year-old, graduating within a few years to the Great White Way where he performed in “Whistle Down the Wind,” and later at Madison Square Garden in “101 Dalmatians.”

In March, Austin played the lead role in Jeff Samaha-Ridge Chorale’s “Seussical the Musical” at the Richard Perry Theatre at Poly Prep Country Day School.

On Saturday, it was all about showmanship.

“We mentored the kids for weeks before,” said Karen Tadross, of the Bay Ridge Community Council’s Committee for Arts and Culture, which presented the competition in conjunction with the Jeff Samaha-Ridge Chorale, Brooklyn One Theater, and the Narrows Community Theater. “We wanted them to highlight their vocal ability, and sing a song they felt connected to, and felt confident singing.”

The level of young talent left Tadross trilling with delight.

“These kids were not only great performers, but they were cheering each other on, it was very heartwarming to see,” she exclaimed.

Austin, a math and science whiz who plans to deposit most of his winnings in his college fund, took his victory in a stride as smooth as his vocal chords.

“I’m still in shock, I can’t believe that they chose me out of all those wonderful people!” he extolled modestly.

One of them even shared the spotlight with him in the winner’s circle.

Marine Park songbird Amanda Marucci, 16, won the people’s choice award — and $100 — after belting out, “On My Own,” from the blockbuster musical, “Les Miserables.”

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