NEW YORK, NY/ HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - A teenage girl from a small town heads to New York to find fame and fortune as a singer. The small town is Hasbrouck Heights. The teen is Giulianna Riccobono.

Riccobono joined thousands of other talented hopefuls when she auditioned for the 15th season of talent show “American’s Got Talent” in late November. 

According to her mother Giovanna, Giulianna has been singing since she’s been three years old. She has never had a vocal coach. 

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“It was something that always came naturally to her,” said Giovanna. “She comes from a musical family.” 

She has performed in yearly shows for Edie’s Dance Factory and has been in productions such as “Elf the Musical” and “Annie,” and productions with the Hasbrouck Heights Drama Club.

The Hasbrouck Heights Middle School eight grader selected “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys for her audition song. She would perform it a cappella, without musical accompaniment or a music soundtrack.

“Throughout the week, I was practicing my song,” said Giulianna. 

Giulianna balances her signing, with cheerleading and youth basketball. She is also a former Chief for a Day with the Hasbrouck Heights Police Department

“This is her first time auditioning at this level,” said Giovanna.  

“Her father and I keep it very real for her. We are proud of her for even taking this chance and any outcome she achieves is positive for us. It will be a step in the right direction for her. Her goal is not necessarily to become famous, but to put herself out there and grow her talent and herself. 

“She’s had her share of struggles with being diagnosed with arthritis when she was only seven years old. But she’s always smiling, being sweet and kind to everyone around her and her positive attitude is infectious.”

Giulianna’s audition was at 11am at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, so the family headed into the city at 9am. She joined the others in the crowd of hopefuls awaiting their turn to audition.

“There were thousands of hopefuls there...all types of acts,” said Giovanna.

“It went really well,” said Giulianna “I was extremely nervous as I didn’t know what to expect. I calmed myself down by just reminding myself that they were regular people just like me and that there were others here just as nervous. 

“The audition was a little different than I expected because I thought I was just by myself in front of the producers, but instead I had to audition in front of the group I was put in as well."

She noted that the judges were not at the New York audition, but will be if she gets a call back.

“Everyone was really nice and supportive,” said Giulianna  “I met a few people there who were very sweet, and we had a lot in common. I felt nervous before and during the audition but felt very good afterwards that I accomplished it.”

“It being her first time, she did amazing,” said her mother. “She was very nervous when she started but then pulled herself together. She definitely held her own and had a chance if she wishes to try again.”

The family won’t hear anything until February when the nationwide auditions conclude.

Would Giulianna put herself through the pressure of a high-profile audition again?

“I would definitely audition again now that I know how it works,” she said. “Never stop going for your never know.”


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