Latino idol down to 2
Jose Carmen Rivera and Maria Cervantes are on a path for the title "Latino Idol," holding their ground over the past few weeks in weekly competitions at Panama Hattie's.
Jack Cione, one of the judges, offered some advice to the two: "Watch 'American Idol,' pick up a few pointers and follow in the same footprints."
On stage: Fridays through May 4, except April 13
Place: Panama Hattie's, 99-016 Kamehameha Highway, above Dixie Grill
» Friday: Both contestants sing two songs of their choice, one upbeat, the other slower. No elimination.
» April 20: The two contestants sing together. No elimination.
» April 27: Each contestant sings two songs. No elimination.
» May 4: Each contestant performs one song. The one with the highest score becomes "Hawaii's Latino Idol."
Seeking Samoan Idol contestants
Singers are being sought for the Third Annual World Samoan Idol competition. Participants must be Samoan and sing in Samoan.
The winner receives $1,500 cash and a CD recording; first runner-up receives $1,000; second runner-up, $500. The winners will also perform at the Samoa Mo Samoa -- Tupulaga.
Deadline to register is May 5. Call Pulefano Galea'i, 293-7039, after 5 p.m., or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cione also told Rivera, "You are not a Ricky Martin yet, but you are very good." He asked to see more of Cervantes' personality.
Sandy Tsukiyama de Oliveira delivered comments more in the Simon Cowell fashion: "When you are on top, you either stay there or go down."
Larry Haanio, co-owner of Panama Hattie's, on the other hand, always reassured the contestants that they looked good, and just needed to smile more -- bringing in the Paula Abdul vibe.
The judges' scorecards account for 60 percent of the vote; audience applause makes up the rest. The judges change periodically to avoid favoritism, according to Nancy Ortiz, event organizer. The contest began with about a dozen contenders, but a handful dropped out for unspecified reasons, Ortiz said. This means the two top contestants will get a few weeks on stage without risk of elimination.
The winner receives a $1,000 cash prize, an opportunity to record a CD single and a spot as featured performer at the Cinco de Mayo block party and the Salsathon in June.
Q & A with the contenders
Why should you win this competition?
Jose Carmen Rivera: I'm just trying to prove that I'm not just a plaster man. I work construction, but have talent, too. I love to sing. My family was in mariachi bands and I was exposed to music all of my life. If I win, it's all good. If I don't, I proved something, not to other people, but to myself. I got this far.
Maria Cervantes: If I win, I will have more opportunities to share my Hispanic culture.
Q: Do you plan to pursue a career in music? If so, would you focus specifically on Latin music or get involved in other genres?
J.R.: I wouldn't mind being famous one day. I would like to try Univision (a Spanish-language media company). I sing in both English and Spanish. ... I like to sing romantic songs. I'm always singing on the job site --the day goes by quicker. I also like to dance. You never know, one day, I wish to be somebody.
M.C.: It is my dream to have a career in music. I love all types of music, not just Spanish.
Q: What do you think about the "American Idol" craze? Do you watch the program?
J.R.: I don't really like watching the program. I do like Univision's "Singing for a Dream."
M.C.: I don't really have time to watch the program, (but) I think this is a good way for people to be able to pursue their wishes and dreams.
Q: If you could sing on television, in front of millions, what song would it be?
J.R.: In English, "Hello" by Lionel Richie and in Spanish "Llaves de mi Alma (Keys to My Soul)" by Vicente Fernandez.
M.C.: I would sing "La Cigarra" by Linda Ronstadt.