Young singers launch dreams of stardom on arena stage


POSTED: Friday, March 06, 2009

NO MATTER your age, getting to perform on stage at the Blaisdell Arena is a pretty big deal.


Thanks to Johnny Kai and his efforts to revive Brown Bags to Stardom, dozens of elementary, middle- and high-school students showed off their talents for a vocal audience of family and friends last weekend.

I was joined at the judges' table by musician DeShannon Higa, producer Don Stroud, promoter Lincoln Jacobe, entertainer Greg Gabaylo and public relations veteran Deborah Sharkey. Fashion designers Takeo and Eric Chandler were there as well, with Miss Teen Hawaii USA 2009 Ashley Moser and Miss Hawaii USA 2009 Aureana Tseu.

Many of the high-schoolers involved were serious about chasing their dreams. Walter Tauatevalu shunned a backing track in favor of his guitar and a live band, and it paid off when the Kailua High School senior was named Best Male Vocalist.

I was also impressed with Kaimuki's Anette Aga, who channeled Tina Turner and incorporated both a wardrobe change and funky choreography into her rendition of “;Proud Mary.”; The performance earned her a standing ovation and Best Female Vocalist honors.

Congrats also to Moanalua students Katrina Agnew-Yamabe, Meghan Cadaoas and sisters Tamara and Tiara Rapp, who were named Best Variety Act.

And even though it was close on the scoring sheets, I think the final outcome was correct when Castle High School's 1 of a Kine was named Best Musical Group.

In the end, all of the students who were courageous enough to enter and perform should be proud of their efforts. I can only hope the local music industry will embrace some of these kids and give them a shot at bigger things ...

DO YOU HAVE what it takes to be the next Ruthie Alcaide?

Nearly a decade after watching the Campbell graduate struggle with alcoholism on “;The Real World: Hawaii,”; producers from the granddaddy of all reality television shows return to Oahu in search of fresh faces for their 22nd season.

“;We look for characters from real life,”; explained executive producer Jonathan Murray in a press release. “;People with strong personalities who are unafraid to speak their minds.”;

Auditions will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 14 at LEVEL4 Nightclub and Ultralounge, and applicants, who should be between ages 18 and 24 (with valid photo ID), must bring a recent picture (which will not be returned). Good luck ...

WEEKEND PICKS: After being forced out of E&O Trading Co. last month, promoters HI-Def 808, V3 Promotions and Scene Fifty move to the Honolulu Design Center for “;Xclusive”; on Friday. California import model Christine Mendoza will make a guest appearance ... Fans of “;Flavor of Love”; and “;I Love New York”; will want to be at LEVEL4 Friday for a reality-show edition of “;The Peach.”; Leilene “;Smiley”; Ondrade and Jason “;Heat”; Mosell will co-host ... “;Downtowne,”; the monthly event for ladies who love ladies, celebrates its second anniversary this weekend. Last month's E&O closure affected this party as well, forcing it to move to Bar 35. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, with a special live performance by Futatsu and DJs Ms. Angel and KSM on the decks. Cover is $10, but save $2 if you follow the theme and dress in black and white ...

COMING UP: The 808 Scene Zine marks its third birthday on March 14 with an all-ages party at The Spot. Busekrus, Stillborn Skies, Disaster Kit and A Sedated Nation will perform; doors open at 8 p.m. ... Battle Axe Productions presents the first annual “;Melepalooza”; on March 24 at Pipeline Cafe. Dub Phylum, Phoenix Rose, Sheriff Brown, All Natro and Ill Valley are among the bands scheduled to perform; doors open at 5 p.m. ... Mike “;DJ Vegas Mike”; Licata has announced the return of “;Acid Wash Wednesdays”; to Honolulu. Licata has secured the Living Room as the new home for DJs Nocturna, Quicksilva, Dallas DeBauch and rotating members of the Nocturnal Sound Krew. The club will feature no cover and drink specials all night when the weekly returns March 25 ...

IT'S TIME for me to celebrate Spring Break.”;In the Mix”; returns to HiLife on March 27 ...


Check out Jason Genegabus' blog: www.sonecessary.tv