Fil-Am Adriana Latonio makes it to AI top 20
[Read the USAToday article featuring this photo here]
MANILA, Philippines - Filipino-American Adriana Latonio is in the top 20 of American Idol Season 12.
In the first semi-finals or “sudden death” round of the show, she was one of 10 girls to compete for 5 spots in the top 20.
In front of a live audience at the Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles LOVE Theatre at The Mirage in Las Vegas, she performed Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way.”
She was the 3rd contestant to perform that night after Jenny Beth Willis and Tenna Torres.
The petite 17-year-old began her song with confident, bold strides towards the judges and laced her performance with Jessica Sanchez-esque growls and soaring notes.
At the end of her rendition, members of the audience blessed her with a standing ovation.
Sang like a ‘pro’
What cemented the success of Latonio's performance was the feedback from the judges.
“Now the night has started,” country singer and AI judge Keith Urban began.
“Your emotions completely belied your age… It was so hard not to react because it was so damn good,” he continued.
Rapper Nikki Minaj, the frank, hard-to-please judge of the bunch described Adriana as “a little tiny thing but commands the stage from the second she walks out.”
Aside from calling Adriana’s vocals “great,” Nikki also gave nods for her boldness during the performance saying, “There is no fear. I did not see one ounce of fear from you… Congratulations, my little lady bug.”
Randy Jackson kept it short and sweet with, “This girl is a pro.”
Mariah Carey, legendary vocalist in her own right, was all smiles saying, “I was really proud of you. That’s Aretha Franklin,” giving the performance a grade of “A+.”
First of the top 20
The other girls that made it through this first “sudden death” round to earn a coveted spot on the Top 20 are Tenna Torres, Kree Harrison, Angela Miller, and Amber Holcomb.
Based on feedback from judges, Adriana’s toughest rivals (at least among the girls) are Kree Harrison (about whom Nikki raved, “I would be very afraid if I were any of these other girls here tonight”), Angela Miller (whom Keith said has “a big, big gift”), and Amber Holcomb (whom Randy said, “stood out like a shining diamond”).
They are the first AI semi-finalists to get in the top 20.
On February 22, the next batch of 10 contestants, all boys this time, will compete for the next 5 spots. On March 1, it’s the turn of the second batch of 10 girls. On March 2, the last batch of 10 boys will vie for the last 5 spots.
Two more Filipino-Americans still have to fight for a spot on the top 20: Bridget “Jett” Hermano and Bryant Tadeo.
But with Adriana’s recent success, Filipinos all over the world now have more reason to hope for a Filipino American Idol. - Rappler.com