"Le Leo o Amerika Samoa” kicks off with rave reviews
Four teams consisting of five singers each were selected this past Wednesday, during the first night of Le Leo o Amerika Samoa singing competition, sponsored by the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) and BlueSky Communications.
The four local musicians, who are serving as judges/coaches for the competition are Kuki Tuiasosopo, Jonitta Fruean, Elijah Tavai, and Nina Namazzi Ah Soon.
A total of 20 local singers auditioned and were selected to be part of the first ever local singing competition modeled after “The Voice,” a world-wide smash hit that allows singers to perform with the judges’ backs to them. If the judges determine that the voice they are hearing is good enough to make the cut, they turn around and wait until after the performance to ask the singer to pick them as their team leader/coach.
Wednesday night’s competition was a success, with family and friends witnessing the action live at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium (Fale Laumei) in Utulei, and some watching the program live in the comfort of their homes on Channel 2.
The event lasted a little over two hours and ended with each of the four judges selecting five people to be on their teams.
DYWA Deputy Director Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr., who served as the host for the program, told the Samoa News in a telephone interview that their office phone has been ringing off the hook since the program started, and they have received nothing but rave reviews from local residents who say “it’s about time” that a show geared towards exposing local talent and entertainment for the whole family is available in the territory.
Le Leo o Amerika Samoa was open to locals between the ages of 16 and 25, and Tapumanaia says their goal by the end of this year, is to have something for the younger kids who were not eligible for this particular competition.
Wednesday’s kick-off included the performance of popular tunes by Beyonce, Martina McBride, and Aretha Franklin. Contestants represented different villages from Leloaloa to Pago Pago and Iliili, even Fagamalo.
After each performance, judges gave their critiques — some of them positive while others were encouraging. Some of the singers, according to the judges, have potential to do much better than they did that night, and that is yet to be seen as the competition progresses.
Every Wednesday, the show will air live from the Fale Laumei (there is a $3 entrance fee for general public seating) and on KVZK-TV Channel 2 for seven consecutive weeks until a winner is selected. This week, ten of the twenty performers will take the stage, and five will be eliminated based on the results of text voting.
“Eliminations begin next week so we highly encourage people to text in their votes using their Blue Sky phones,” Tapumanaia said. “You can watch the program all you want and cheer for your favorite singer but if you don’t text in your vote, your favorite performer is at risk of being eliminated.”
The coaches have drawn their slips for next week’s competition of which Team Jonitta and Team Elijah will present three singers each, while Team Kuki and Team Nina will present two singers each. The judges will serve as coaches and mentors to help the singers on their team throughout the competition with everything from song selections, stage presence, and delivery in hopes of winning the grand prize which includes bragging rights and $1,000 cash.
The following week, the remaining ten singers will perform and five will again be eliminated based on who racks up the most text votes. “I cannot express how important it is for people to text in their votes,” Tapumanaia said. “The results of the competition depend on it.” This process of elimination will be repeated three more times until a winner is named. “It has been the buzz of the island and we are grateful for everyone’s support!” Tapumanaia said.
He added that their goal is to take the competition mainstream and ultimately send a group of singers from Le Leo o Amerika Samoa to compete against some of the singers from Samoa’s famous “Star Search” competition.
He said the competition can be held either here or in the independent state but the goal is to expose local talent. Tapumanaia added that at the end of the Le Leo o Amerika Samoa competition, special performances will be made by the four judges, “to showcase their talents and abilities, so people can see that the judges are talented musicians in their own right.”
Tune in next week Wednesday at 6pm and watch the singers battle it out! Who will move on and who will be eliminated?
LE LEO O AMERIKA SAMOA 2013...the search continues!!
The following is a list of the teams and its members:
1- TUALAULELEI JACKSON SAMOA 2- PAE TUIASOSOPO
3- JONATHAN TUIGAMALA
4- HELEN BROWN
5- TAUTALA SETI
1- BERNADINE OTT
2- LEATA TE’O
3- ANASETASIA MOMOE
4- JONATHAN UTU
5- KURT AAB
1- DANIEL HELSHAM
2- CHRISTINA FILIPO
3- SOLOMONA PHILLIPS
4- ILIGANOA VIENA
5- SAVEASI’ULEO FETOA’I
1- FA’AUIGA MATAI’A
2- TONYA TUIGAMALA
3- ANNA SAMU
4- FARANI FETOA’I
5- LB AHSEE