Mavericks dancer to judge singing competition

American Idol hopefuls won’t be the only contestants singing for a live audience tonight. Like the popular national singing competition, TCU students will sing in front of a panel of judges and audience members. However, in a unique twist, contestants will have the opportunity to sing songs in different languages.

Roland Guerrero, president of Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity Inc., said he came up with the idea of hosting a karaoke-type event after watching American Idol and hearing about the British, Australian and Mexican idol competitions.

Kappa Lambda Delta sorority and Programming Council are also sponsoring the event.

Cleda Wang, recruitment director for KLD, said International Idol is a different and exciting programming idea. Members of each organization wanted a chance to encourage diversity and cultural awareness on campus, Wang said.

“Part of our mission statement is to promote diversity,” said Wang, a junior biology major. “We thought maybe we should focus on diversity and help open new doors for people to get to know other cultures.”

Jinpei Shan, president of KLD, said a singing competition like International Idol not only promotes diversity but communication as well.

“Music itself is a great communication tool,” said Shan, a senior e-business major. “This competition makes you realize that no matter what language we speak, we can always communicate through music.”

The competition will have two rounds. In the first round, the 15 contestants will sing without musical accompaniment for a judging panel, including alumna and Dallas Mavericks dancer Ruthie Clements and current students, who will determine the best five singers to advance to round two, said Guerrero, a sophomore advertising/public relations and marketing major.

The winner selected by the judges will receive an iPod Nano. Second and third place winners as well as an audience favorite will receive music-related gift cards, Guerrero said.

Mai Vu, a junior psychology major, said she decided to participate in the competition because she was interested in hearing songs in different languages. Vu will be singing a traditional Vietnamese song as well as an American song.

Kassandra Portillo, cultural events director for Programming Council, said she wants International Idol to become an annual event.

“I wanted to try to showcase diversity within our school,” said Portillo, a freshman psychology and religion major. “TCU has never had a program like this, and the three groups hope that this is a tradition that will continue.