McCordsville teen advances to talent show semifinals


It was actually the second time that proved to be the charm for Kaylee Johnson-Bradley and the CarmelFest Has Talent competition.

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“A few years ago, I auditioned and unfortunately didn’t get past the first round,” Johnson-Bradley said. “Recently, a woman came up to me after one of my performances at school and suggested that I try out again. I did, and now I’m through to the next round. The experience so far has been pretty uplifting, so I can see myself coming back in the future.”

Johnson-Bradley, a 17-year-old McCordsville resident who will be a senior at Mt. Vernon High School, will perform as a semifinalist in the 17 to 20 division from 3 to 5 p.m. July 3 on the Gazebo Stage. There are four age divisions, 12 and under, 13 to 16, 17 to 20 and 21 and older. The top three in each division advance to the finals at 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. July 4.

Johnson-Bradley has loved to perform since a young age.

“I really like the feeling of moving an audience and taking them on a journey through the performance,” she said. “I believe that is what I’m most excited for, to perform in front of an audience and take them on a journey through the song.”

She plans to sing “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.

“It is definitely more of a pop song, which is along the lines of what I usually sing,” she said. “Most of the time I sing R&B and pop.”

Alyson Arena, 11, also made the semifinals in her second try. Arena, who has a Zionsville address but lives in Carmel, will be a sixth-grader at Creekside Middle School in August. Arena is eager to perform in front of the CarmelFest audience.

‘Of course, I would love to win CarmelFest and it would be amazing, but I’m just proud of myself for actually being a semifinalist even when I did not make the cut last year,” Arena said. “I am overall proud of myself for making it here, and all that matters is that I try my hardest and have fun.”

Arena will sing “You Say” by Lauren Daigle.