Isle ‘Idols’ get
wings trimmed

Jasmine Trias and Camile
Velasco both receive criticism
for their Elton John songs

Plucking pop tunes from the songbook of Elton John, Hawaii's "American Idol" finalists Jasmine Trias and Camile Velasco jostled with seven others for a spot in the TV show's elite eight last night.

A video clip in the opening minutes of the show revealed John met with "American Idol's" star-struck cast, including a tearful Velasco, in the week leading up to last night's competition.

"Elton John really inspired me to go out there Tuesday night and to just sing at my best for him and for everybody else," she said in a pre-recorded interview shown before her performance.

Trias, in her video short, remarked, "I'm just going to go out there, do my thing and make Elton John proud."

Both Hawaii contestants, though, received their share of criticism from the show's three judges.

As the third finalist to take the stage, Trias, in a shimmering top, sung a purposeful rendition of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." It was an ambitious attempt, filled with many high notes.

"I know it's a pretty range-y song, right?" judge Randy Jackson said at the conclusion of her song. "You were a little pitchy and what happens is that sometimes when you go for those high notes, you hit just underneath it. I think it was an OK performance by you, but a little pitchy overall."

Paula Abdul concurred: "You really do well, Jasmine, when you really color it up with your vocals, when you have the vulnerability, softness and then you change the tone. When you're going for power the whole time, you fall a little bit off. I love when you color it up more."

"What she's trying to say is it wasn't good enough," summarized judge Simon Cowell. "It's just average once again. You're not doing enough to win."

In the fifth slot, Camile Velasco, of Haiku, Maui, performed "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," another challenging tune.

"Camile, not your best performance," remarked Jackson. "A little shaky, a little pitchy. These Elton songs can be very tough to sing. It's just very all right to me."

Again, Abdul's comments mirrored Jackson's.

"I don't think it was the right song to pick," she said.

"Camile, somewhere in Las Vegas, a television will be thrown out of a hotel window and that's where Elton John is watching this show," quipped Cowell. "Sorry, that was honestly the end of the road for you, I think."

On Maui, shoppers at Ooka Super Market Ltd. in Wailuku were well aware of the show and most were cheering for the Hawaii girls.

Danae Olaso, a fourth-grader at Lihikai Elementary School, said she watched the program because she liked Jasmine Trias' singing and she wanted to know which winners would advance.

Walter Mulak, 50, a Wailuku resident, said he thinks "American Idol" is a great concept, giving opportunities to people with talent.

"It's a lucky break for anyone who has a voice," he said. "I wish they had it here. I'd go."

One competitor will be eliminated on tonight's show, which airs at 7 p.m. on Fox station KHON.

Star-Bulletin reporter Gary T. Kubota contributed to this report.


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