Juna and Joey duo competes on Nickelodeon show
“They were the best vocal performance hands down.”
“Wow I love them. They are so extremely talented. I was only watching for them.”
“Easily the most talented, gifted performers on their episode. It is unforgivable that they aren’t moving on.”
These are just a few of the many comments on the YouTube video of vocal freshman Julianna “Juna” Defeo’s and vocal senior Joey Defeo’s duo performance on the new Nickelodeon show, “America’s Most Talented Family.”
Juna Defeo and Joey Defeo competed on the newly released show as a brother-sister duo.
The Nickelodeon show premiered on Nov. 1, with 30 musical families. In the following weeks, five families will be eliminated until a final winner remains. Despite the fact that they were eliminated during the first week, for Joey Defeo, it was about being comfortable on stage.
“The more practice I get and the more I perform in front of larger crowds, the better my singing will be,” Joey Defeo said.
For Juna Defeo, she reflected more on the judge’s comments regarding eye contact.
“We just kind of close our eyes and feel in the moment, but opening them is really important so you can connect [with your audience] and not close yourself off,” Juna Defeo said.
They both have been singing since Juna was 3 years old and Joey was 7 years old. The first song Juna Defeo performed was a childhood favorite: “Love” from “The Little Rascals.”
“I was obsessed with it when I was little, and when I heard the song come on, I knew I had to sing that song to my dad,” Juna Defeo said.
Although Juna started her music lessons and devotion to music, Joey originally played sports during his childhood. One day, when he went to pick his sister up from her music lessons, he became more open to the idea and started to gain interest. From there, he decided to pursue music with her.
Ever since, the duo has become more well known. A producer from “America’s Most Talented Musical Family” saw one of their early performances and decided that they should have Juna and Joey on the show. They began filming in the following summer.
“The first experience was really crazy because it was the first time I’ve ever done a show like that before on a professional set and everything,” Juna Defeo said. “When I walked into the soundcheck of the performance with the judges table, it seemed really professionally done.”
Vocal dean Kent Taylor has taught Joey Defeo for seven years and taught Juna Defeo starting this year. Watching Joey grow from middle school to now, Mr. Taylor has watched his transformation as an artist and how he has become involved in big name productions.
“I thought their performance was fantastic. They probably shouldn’t have gotten eliminated from that round,” Mr. Taylor said. “I thought it was very energetic, and they did an excellent job.”
The exposure from “America’s Most Talented Families” has benefitted the family’s music career for the better by allowing them to gain a larger social media following.
“We’ve definitely gained a bigger fan base. More people are contacting us that watched the show saying things like ‘Oh, you guys did so good!’” Juna Defeo said. “We’ve gotten a lot more social media exposure.”
They have gained not only fans, but also life experiences that will help them in their future musical careers.
“It’s also helped us in general because we know what it’s like to be in a professional setting like that, and it can really take our performances to the next level,” Juna said.
This story was originally published on The Muse on November 22, 2019.