COURTESY ELISSA JOSEPHSON
No mere singer
Jasmine Trias has made the jump from singer to entertainer, thanks to the SOS' Tony Ruivivar
What would Simon say if he could see her now?
Jasmine Trias is returning to Hawaii this weekend for two shows as a special guest of the Society of Seven. Hawaii's best known "American Idol" finalist will be doing almost everything the SOS guys do -- singing, dancing and impressions.
The Society of Seven
With Lani Misalucha and Jasmine Trias
In concert: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall
Tickets: $45 to $65, with $5 discount for seniors, military, OHANA Hotels employees, groups of 20 or more. Available at Blaisdell box office and Ticketmaster outlets.
Call: (877) 750-4400 (732-7733 for groups) or visit ticketmaster.com
Trias gives SOS leader Tony Ruivivar full credit for her metamorphosis from singer to entertainer.
"Tony has been such a mentor to me. He is amazing," Trias said. "He has really stretched me as a performer (and) stretched my potential. It was a challenge for me to believe in myself, but he showed me that I could do it. He inspired me to dream big."
Trias became the latest beneficiary of Ruivivar's five decades' worth of show-biz savvy when he invited her to join the SOS for six weeks as temporary replacement for the group's resident female vocalist, Lani Misalucha.
Trias admits she was "intimidated" by the thought of subbing for Misalucha, who was a multitalented arena entertainer in the Philippines before joining the SOS in Las Vegas.
"I'd watched her show many times and I was, like, "Wow! I want to do that some day,' but I didn't think I was ready for it, and then several months later I get the call (from Ruivivar)," she says.
"He already had a set list of what songs I was gonna do, the impression numbers I was gonna do. When he told me I was going to be doing impressions I was looking at him like he was crazy. 'I don't do impressions!' He said I could do it ... and he was right."
Trias adds that she'd never considered singing Broadway hits, until Ruivivar told her she'd be doing "Happy Talk," the whimsical pidgin-English love song from "South Pacific"; "I'd Give My Life for You," from "Miss Saigon"; and Jennifer Hudson's signature "And I Am Telling You," from "Dreamgirls."
Trias thought she might be able to do the first two, but not the "Dreamgirls" anthem. Hudson sang that song the season that Trias was on "American Idol," "and people are going to compare me. I was scared, and I didn't feel I was able to do it, but Tony made me think that I could do it, and I did."
Not only did she do everything Ruivivar asked of her, but she had so much fun that Trias is ready for more. "I've learned so much, I've grown so much as a performer, and ... I feel that I'm so much stronger as a vocalist, even as a performer. I still have a lot to learn, but I took a big step."
Trias hasn't been letting her solo career slide. She was a few minutes away from a concert soundcheck when she called from Vallejo, Calif., early Friday, and is looking forward to recording another album and returning to the Philippines for concerts and film work.
She has continued to study Tagalog, a commitment she made when she was first marketed as an expatriate Filipina-American entertainer three years ago.
"I'm very conversational now. People think I'm actually fluent, but there are still some words that I haven't picked up yet -- some deep Tagalog words ... I'm still learning new words every day."
And so, what does she think Simon would say if he were in the audience this weekend?
"I think he would be blown away!"