‘Idols’ bring
mixed talent levels
to Blaisdell Arena


Jasmine Trias: "How Will I Know" was among her songs in last night's concert

Like the Pied Piper who captured hearts and minds with his flute playing, the latest star of "American Idol," Fantasia Barrino, turned an already-excited, capacity Blaisdell Arena crowd to hysterics with the first note out of her astonishing voice in a unique rendition of "Summertime."

This third version of "American Idol" with 10 finalists, including Hawaii's Jasmine Trias and Camile Velasco, was two hours of fun unmemorable but for a few performances.

But the more than 7,000 fans certainly didn't notice and cheered each performer like an old friend.

This first of three sold-out concerts showed why there are first, second and third places in the television show with American Idol champ Fantasia Barrino easily outshining the other performers.

Barrino, a North Carolina native, is as comfortable on stage as a seasoned performer, never substituting rapport with the audience for talent.

Her impossibly high-pitched voice never wavered in the most punishing of notes that several times silenced the diverse crowd of grandparents and preteens who may not have believed what they were hearing.

Singing "Purple Rain" to start off the second half, Barrino's emotions and bursting yet almost symphonic volume had you almost forgetting The Artist Known as Somebody, who sang the original.

But this was a night for Hawaii to be proud of its own.

Velasco was the second singer on stage, wearing a long brown skirt, blue and beige band top and a turquoise bandana with white polka dots.

Seeing the lights slowly illuminate her, the crowd rose to its feet to scream and applaud its local girl.

Velasco launched into a sultry rendition of "Ex Factor," making eye contact with as many front row patrons as possible, then prowling the stage hunched over, symbolically submissive to her hometown. If Velasco would tone down her sometimes frenetic arm and hand movement, the audience may pay more attention to her voice.

Trias proved what being on the road for three months can do for stage presence. She showed a refined, though definitively saucy, attitude.

With her trademark plumeria behind her right ear, Trias performed an energetic and musically forgiving "How Will I Know." The recent high school graduate looked beyond her age dressed in tight-fitting white capri pants, a crepe-like blood red top, heels and silver belt.

While she still had trouble hitting some high notes, a problem that plagued her during the "Idol" competition, the frisky beat and her stage presence hid any deficit.

And make no mistake that Trias was glad to be home. Her wide smile said it all, and she thanked the crowd with several "I love you guys."

The show opened with Amy Adams, who did her best to entertain the crowd with "Knock On Wood."

The audience responded to the pixie-haired singer enthusiastically.

During most of the first hour, the performers did one song and then introduced the next singer. Adams introduced Velasco, who introduced Jon Peter Lewis, who ran into the audience following his version of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" punctuated by stunted dance steps.

His victory lap around the arena floor was accompanied by a security guard. When he reached the back of the venue he introduced Jennifer Hudson. The Chicago native, who was another highlight, opened strong with "Since You've Been Gone" and nailed her song as well as Barrino nailed hers.

Diana DeGarmo also held her own with a daring cover of "River Deep, Mountain High," a song never outdone by Tina Turner. She also sang "Dreams."

George Huff captured his moment dancing around the stage, smiling and talking to audience members. He also gave surprising energy to the song "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." The crowd responded with one of the louder ovations of the night.

The second half of the show featured more duets and collaborations. Barrino led the 10 singers, supported by a five-piece backing band, on "When Doves Cry," with Velasco and Adams shining in particular.

About 300 additional seats have become available for tonight's and tomorrow's shows at $33.



E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com