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“Le Leo Amerika Samoa” singing competition airs live tomorrow night

The identities of the top 16 singers and four alternates that have been selected to compete in the first ever “Le Leo o Amerika Samoa” singing competition hosted by the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) and Bluesky Communications will not be revealed until Wednesday, April 3 during the live show, which will be held at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium (Fale Laumei) and aired live on KVZK-TV Channel 2.


DYWA Deputy Director Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr. explained in an email correspondence to Samoa News that “due to the format for the competition, I can’t reveal the names until the night of the competition, as it is supposed to be blind auditions and the judges only hear the voice of the singers, and not their names or faces.”


The competition was open for local youth between the ages of 16 and 25 and auditions took place last Monday and Tuesday at the KVZK-TV studio in Utulei.


Tapumanaia called the auditions “an astounding success.” A total of 20 singers registered and sang their hearts out for the audition selection panel. There were eight boys and ten girls, with the youngest being 17 years old and the oldest 25. (Two of the singers, who registered, couldn't make it to the KVZK auditions, but will they will be auditioning at the DYWA Office today.)


The competition will be aired live on KVZK-TV Channel 2 beginning this Wednesday and will run every Wednesday for seven consecutive weeks until a winner is selected.


Singers in “Le Leo o Amerika Samoa” will compete against each other and the winner will be determined by how many votes they can garner from the general public. DYWA Acting Director Pa’u Roy Taito Ausage encourages everyone to watch the show and make their selections known through Bluesky text voting.


Each week, those who tally up the most votes will move on, while those with the least number of votes will be eliminated. Basically, the winner will be chosen through public opinion.


The public is invited to come out and show their support for their favorite singer(s) during the first night of competition on April 3, in addition to voting through their Blue Sky phones.


There is a $3 entrance fee for general public seating.


During last week’s auditions, Tapumanaia said each of the singers brought their own music selection and displayed great singing skills and range. The music selections varied from Rhythm & Blues, Country, and Samoan, to Gospel. “We even had a couple of singers sing a capella or singing without music!” he said. “The singers were a bit nervous at first, as they realized they were being taped live on KVZK-TV. But they settled in and belted out their music with more confidence as they went along.”


The audition selection panel was led by Tapumanaia, who was also the host for the show. The other two panel members were reigning Miss American Samoa Arielle Tuilefano Malota and Ms. Penni Utu of Penni Girl Productions. The trio was tasked with selecting the sixteen finalists and four alternates for the actual show that will kick-off as part of the 2013 Flag Day festivities.


The four judges/coaches for the actual show are local musicians Kuki Tuiasosopo, Jonitta Fruean, Elijah Tavai, and Nina Namazzi Ah Soon.


They will be using the same format used on the world popular “X Factor” singing competition featuring music icons and judges Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, and LA Reid, in that each judge will select five singers to be on their team.


The judges will serve as coaches and mentors to help the singers on their team through the competition with everything from song selections, stage presence, and delivery in hopes that one will emerge as the overall winner.


As each singer ends his/her performance each night, viewers will be asked to use their Blue Sky phones to text vote for the singer of their choice, using the assigned number for each singer which will be displayed on the television screen for everyone to see.


“It’s a new concept of judging and the public will ultimately decide who will be Le Leo O Amerika Samoa 2013,” Tapumanaia said. “The program has already received rave reviews from the public who have phoned in and commented on the DYWA Facebook page, calling the auditions a great program that gives the youth a chance to display their talents, and they are looking forward to the actual show!”


DYWA Acting Director Pa'u Roy Ausage, on behalf of his department, extends his appreciation and gratitude to their partners and sponsors Bluesky Communications, Samoa News, All Star Signs and Graphics, KHJ (South Seas Broadcasting), KSBS FM 92.1, and Toa Bar and Grill.


Pa’u also thanks the Director of the Office of Public Information (KVZK-TV) Fagafaga Daniel Langkilde and the KVZK crew “for the use of the studio during auditions and the live taping that made it possible for the public to watch and enjoy our youth and their talents.”


DYWA looks forward to a “tough competition” as each singer is very talented.


Don't forget to mark your calendars for April 3 at 6 p.m. to either watch the action in person as part of a live audience or in the comfort of your home on Channel 2 or 5.


The top winner will receive the grand prize of $1,000 cash. Second place will take home $600 cash while third place will get $300 and fourth place will pocket $100.


More information about the competition can be obtained by contacting the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs directly at 633-2835 or 633-2836. Ask for Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr. or Joe Iosua (J-Smooth).


Le Leo O Amerika Samoa… ”Who will move on and who will be eliminated? It’s your choice American Samoa! Tune in and follow the excitement, and remember to text vote for your choice.”