A winner was all set to be crowned last night on Telemundo's La Voz Kids three-hour grand finale. After thirteen weeks, the singing competition--styled after hit Fox competition show "The Voice"--selected six young aspiring singers, including Anaheim's own Sean Oliu. The stakes were high as the top prize included a recording contract with Universal Music. Oliu, a dual-immersion kid from Price Elementary who recently completed the 5th grade, gave the final episode of the show's first season his best belting out Luis Fonsi's "No Me Doy Por Vencido." Would it seal the deal?
For those who haven't been watching, La Voz Kids resemblance to The Voice is unmistakable, right down to the red-padded cushion seats of celebrity mentors. Oliu made it through blind auditions and was selected on Prince Royce's "team." Every Sunday night, week after week, his parents and abuelitos beamed with pride as the youngster's performances gained the adulation of the audience and voters propelling him to the grand finale. Last night's show was a star-studded affair, too, with guest performances from Royce, Ana Barbara and Ricky Martin.
Before Telemundo, I first took notice of Oliu's voice two years ago when he performed onstage at Pearson Park in Anaheim for the ¡Viva Los Muertos! Day of the Dead Mariachi Celebration. Backed by Mariachi Puño de Oro and Rhythmo Mariachi Kids, he sang "Besame Morenita" to the crowd that night. My mother and I both turned to each other in our seats remarking on his talent.
It came as no surprise, then, to see him on television this summer nailing a rendition of Marco Antionio Solis' "Si No Te Hubieras Ido."
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After his final performance on La Voz Kids, the celebrity mentors offered praises in unison. Pop superstar Paulina Rubio mentioned how he reminded her of her son, touted his singing, complimented him on his gentlemanly ways, and even gave props to his gap front-teeth! Later in the program, though, the moment of truth arrived. Would he or Paola Guanche go on to represent Team Royce?
Anxious Anaheimers watched on as anticipation built. Paola's name was announced as she would later be declared the winner of the first season. Oliu gave a hug to his fellow contestant and held back tears after being eliminated. In the interview that preceded his performance, the young singer graciously stated that "we are all winners." Nothing could be more true.
Sean: No llores! You've made your city proud and have one bright future ahead of you!