Jasmine Trias reacted yesterday after surviving another round of "American Idol."

Jasmine’s survival
stuns ‘Idol’ judges

Jasmine Trias' hometown fans came through in a big way, helping to send the Maryknoll School senior to the top three in the nation's largest talent contest, "American Idol."

Top trio

It's been a merry-go-round of derision and accolades as the "American Idol" finalists are taking their share of barbs and praise in turn.

Now that Hawaii's Jasmine Trias is in the Top 3, many of the barbs on the message board are being directed her way.

Nonfans on the mainland want to give this state a piece of their mind. The gist, put succintly by one anonymous emailer before the results were known: "The people of Hawaii would be doing a disservice to put Jasmine Trias in first or second place or even third place in the competition."

Conspiracy theories abound. Our theory is the ohana spirit lives. put it, "We take care of our own."

Trias was widely considered most likely to be voted off the show last night after sharp criticism from the Fox-TV show's judges left her in tears Tuesday. But voters instead knocked out one of the judges' favorites, La Toya London, shocking the show's audience and even some Trias fans in Hawaii.

"I couldn't believe it. I thought they were joking," said Maryknoll Student Senate Vice President Monica Kirst, who was tipped to London's banishment by friends with mainland contacts hours before the show aired in Hawaii. "I was like, 'Wait, La Toya?' I really thought La Toya was the one who was going to win it, but I think Jasmine has a really good chance at winning now."

"I kind of want her to come back because we all miss her, but I hope she makes it even further," Kirst said.

On Tuesday, as judge Simon Cowell was knocking Trias' disco performance, he told her she was definitely going to be voted off the show next.

"Jasmine, you'd better hope that every household in Hawaii has at least five telephones, because you're going to need all the support you can get," he said.

While Verizon could not verify the number of phones in each isle household, the telephone company announced yesterday that the Aloha State set a new mark for land-line attempts to vote in the show.

"Basically, there were just over 5 million call attempts and 1.3 million completions," said Verizon representative Kevin Laverty. "That was about a 21 percent increase in completions from last week, so we're doing everything we can to make sure the callers get through. To the best of our knowledge, that is a record for call attempts."

The two singers who received the lowest viewer-vote totals -- London and Fantasia Barrino -- were considered the favorites to go head to head in the finals; instead they ended up in last night's bottom two.

"I think, Jasmine, you have a lot of thank-you letters to write to Hawaii," Cowell said last night.

The tension was palpable last night as "American Idol" fan Lori Carlos, left, and other Maryknoll School faculty and students watched Jasmine Trias move on in the competition.

Trias and Barrino will return next week along with contestant Diana DeGarmo.

"I really believe she's going to take this all the way," said Trias' longtime vocal instructor, William Daquioag. "Even though she didn't have a good performance (Tuesday), I believe it's the whole package the voters are looking for, someone who can really be a role model to young teens. The only thing I'll be surprised with is if she's out of the competition."

Trias was obviously as shocked as the audience when it was announced that she was safe and London was in the bottom two with Barrino.

London's removal was met with boos from the crowd, though she kept smiling.

"I just want to thank you so much, thank you for believing in me," the 25-year-old said before belting out one of her best songs from the series, "Don't Rain on My Parade" from "Funny Girl."

The show's judges were more candid in their reactions.

"I think America got this one wrong this week," Paula Abdul said.

"I think it's a travesty," echoed Randy Jackson.

The judges play an advisory role after helping winnow the field of 70,000 applicants to 32 semifinalists and then, with viewers, to 12 finalists. The audience takes charge from there until the winner is picked.

"I was extremely surprised about La Toya leaving," said Carissa Rak, 23, of Liliha. "I was just really happy it wasn't Diana. As far as Jasmine, she probably should have gone because her performance wasn't the best, but making her cry was the wrong thing to do because it just made everybody vote for her. It definitely backfired on the judges."

Camille Michel, of the Maryknoll office of development and communications, held an "American Idol" viewing party at her home in Aina Haina last night for more than a dozen friends, students and alumni. "Life just ramped up a notch for Maryknoll School and for Jasmine," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Trias shines ‘Idol’
spotlight on isles

A triumphant Jasmine Trias will return to the islands today to shoot a segment for "American Idol" that has Hawaii tourism officials singing the Mililani teen's praises.

Trias made the TV show's final three last night, which has prompted "American Idol" producers to accompany her to Oahu for more footage of her hometown. The exposure for Hawaii translates to about $7 million in free advertising for the state, said David McNeil, of McNeil Wilson Communications Inc., a public relations firm that represents the HVCB.

Tourism officials were notified last week that if Trias made it into the next round, "American Idol" would shoot footage of her here, McNeil said.

While Trias is in town, the "American Idol" camera crew will accompany her as she meets Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona this afternoon and visits her fellow Maryknoll School students tomorrow morning. She will also be filmed illuminating Waikiki when she arrives by outrigger canoe at about 6:30 p.m. tomorrow to light the torch for Sunset on the Beach. Mayor Jeremy Harris will greet Trias when she comes ashore and issue a proclamation in her honor.

"People are now very interested in Jasmine. 'American Idol' viewers want to know more about who she is and where she comes from," McNeil said. "And that's good news for Hawaii."

The state got a tremendous boost when "American Idol" hosted tryouts in Honolulu earlier this year, said Jay Talwar, vice president of marketing for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. The show, which aired Jan. 28 during a mainland cold front, equated to about $84 million worth of marketing. About 31 million viewers tuned in and saw the show's judges visit Honolulu hot spots.

Advertisers normally pay $700,000 to air a 30-second spot during "American Idol," but the entire show cost the state and its tourism partners about $23,000 and in-kind donations of hotel meeting space, rooms and stadium tickets, McNeil said.

"If you do the math, it's a pretty good deal," he said. "I call Jasmine's performance the gift that keeps on giving."

Trias' warm personality has also helped marketing efforts, Talwar said, adding that research shows the people of Hawaii are a key visitor draw.

"She's a wonderful spokesperson, role model and ambassador for Hawaii," he said.

Trias' experience has boasted tourism marketing so much that officials have begun negotiating with the show's producers for an October return, McNeil said.

"It's about 90 percent sure that they're coming back," he said.


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