Monday, April 21, 2008

American Idol Most Likely Winner "David Archuleta" Once Beaten by a Pinoy

Followers of the American Idol (AI) Season 7 talent search will be pleasantly surprised to know that David Archuleta, said to be �the most likely� to win, was once beaten by a Filipino singer in another US-TV talent search. He�s none other than Mark Mejia and the show was Star Search, hosted by Arsenio Hall, which should be familiar to Filipinos because that�s where our very own Josephine �Banig� Roberto won the grand prize, the first Filipino ever to achieve that feat, in 1988.

Here�s the full story from Edmund Silvestre (news editor of the New York-based The Filipino Reporter):

David Archuleta, the half-American, half-Honduran teen crooner, will be the next American Idol, predict several TV critics in the United States.

But before the 17-year-old AI frontrunner�s inevitable coronation at the end of Idol�s seventh season a few months from now, it would be of great interest to note that David once lost to a Filipino-American singer from California on CBS� Star Search.

It was five years ago when David, then 12 and winner of the Junior Singers Competition on Star Search, lost to then 10-year-old Mark Mejia of San Diego during the Battle of the Champions, a winners� circle showdown. Also defeated by Mark was Tiffany Evans, 10, of Ocean City, New Jersey.

Fast forward to 2008. David, now a teen dreamboat, is inching his way to becoming the next American Idol, and in the process crushed the aspiration of another AI Season 7 Top 12 finalist, Ramiele Malubay of Florida, to become the first Asian-American to clinch the AI title. (Ramiele, a Filipino-American, is reportedly eyeing a singing career in the Philippines after the AI US tour).

And Mark? The Fil-Am boy, now 15, seems to have gone to oblivion. At least for now.

According to reports Mark, son of Emmanuel and Gilda Mejia, is gearing up for next year�s AI when he turns 16, the minimum age requirement for AI contestants.

And he may just succeed where Ramiele and Jasmine Trias (from AI Season 3) failed.

California Fil-Ams who have heard Mark perform at a recent community event in the West Coast said Mark still possesses the voice that made him a two-time Star Search Junior Singer Grand champion. In fact, they claim that compared to David�s, Mark�s voice today is �more polished and natural.�

In the looks (and height) department, however, they admit that Mark has a lot of catching up to do. �The boy needs a makeover if he wants to impress Simon Cowell,� one observer noted, referring to the AI British judge known for his scathing remarks.

See Mark's Star Search performance below:

And here is Mark today:

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