TV talent search sells Hawaii
By Tim Ryan
"From Hawaii: Destination Stardom," the hourlong show debuting Monday on the Pax TV network, is a combination of "Star Search" with palm trees and a stylish Hawaii infomercial. A talent competition show is always a talent competition show, the only difference is the packaging.
And the packaging in "From Hawaii ..." is snappy and sharp, with color rendering that seems hard to believe even if you live here.
But "From Hawaii ..." is as much about selling Hawaii as it is about discovering talent, amateur or professional.
In between the regular images of Hawaii in the opening montage -- remember the "Miss Universe Pageant" from Hawaii? -- there are "bumpers" leading into commercials showing more scenery or promotions of Waikiki, major sponsor Outrigger Hotels and the Hawaii Convention Center.
The show features six talent competitions, which in future shows will be reduced to five with the comedy competition combined with variety. The talent segments flow smoothly and quickly in the hour-long show, as does the judging done by the 100 audience members who sit closest to the stage.
Guests for the first show included Gov. Ben Cayetano and wife Vicki, and Big Island rancher and political power broker Larry Mehau whose company provides security for the show. (Mehau's granddaughter, Anna, is a production intern on "From Hawaii ..." And Mehau also is shown briefly in the opening montage.)
The opening montage is really a music video for the theme song by Brian Rawlings. Scenery is stereotypically Hawaii: erupting volcano, Waimea Bay surfing and local fireman-turned-"Baywatch Hawaii"-actor Kalai Miller hugging a girl in a waterfall. There's even a touch of "Hawaii Five-0" with the camera briefly focusing on a hula dancer's hips.
While host Lisa Canning accompanies winners in each competition to the "Circle of Winners," co host Miller -- referred to as the "island guy" -- does double duty as an on-location guide. In the first show, Miller goes outrigger canoe surfing at Waikiki with the three "Runway" model competitors. Guess who falls in?
"From Hawaii ..." competitors include amateurs as well as professionals who have not made a "break through nationally," a show spokesman said. In future shows, Hawaii professional entertainers will include Na Leo Pilimehana and Forte.
The show is produced by Masini Productions.
From Hawaii...Destination Stardom
On TV: 7 p.m. Monday, repeating 7 p.m. Saturday
Channel: 66 (PAX-TV)
Click for online
calendars and events.