Univision launching music competition


Univision announced 14 contestants for its soon-to-launch music competition, “¡Viva el Sueño!” (Live the Dream!). You’re probably thinking “American Idol” knockoff in Spanish, but there’s a twist. And the company is leveraging its radio stations for this high-profile TV event.

The Univision competition is not about amateurs trying to turn pro. All 14 contestants are already making their living as performers. But they’re all back-up singers, opening acts and such. The objective of “¡Viva el Sueño!” is to identify one of those second-tier acts that should be a Latin music superstar.

The program will be hosted by Hollywood actor and Latin American star Cristián de la Fuente. He will be joined by model/actress Carolina Guerra, who will provide all the details and reactions from backstage after each artist’s performance.

Since this is about music and Univision Radio is a prime outlet for Latin music, three radio personalities will make up the expert panel of judges to evaluate the contestants’ performances and help viewers decide who has the star-quality to make it through the competition. They are: Houston’s multifaceted radio host Raúl Brindis from Univision Radio’s Estéreo Latino 102.9 FM; Los Angeles’ favorite Regional Mexican DJ Stephanie Himonidis “La Chiquibaby” from Univision’s La Nueva 101.9 FM; and Miami’s high-profile and irreverent radio personality Enrique Santos from Univision’s La Kalle 98.3 FM. No doubt they will be talking a lot about the show on their own radio programs, not to mention other Univision Radio hosts.

The company’s Internet assets are also being put to good use. Univision.com features in-depth contestant profiles and will have video interviews, behind-the-scenes footage of every episode, as well as an exclusive blog updated directly from the show. Fans can post comments and chat with their favorite contestants. Univision’s mobile portal will also feature exclusive coverage with the latest news and photos throughout the season.

The 14 contestants are:

Ana Isabelle (Puerto Rico) – Her first music album, “Por El Amor,” on which Luis Fonsi was one of the producers, has been very successful in Puerto Rico, allowing her to perform on stage with such stars as Ednita Nazario, R.K.M. y Ken-Y and Daddy Yankee.

Bárbara (Chile) – A multifaceted singer/songwriter, she debuted her album “Bárbara” in 2007, which includes collaborations with Luis Fonsi, Mario Domm, Claudia Brant and Sin Bandera.

Cristina (United States) – Winning TeleFutura’s music competition “Objetivo Fama” in 2008 opened the door to a career in the entertainment world for this talented Mexican singer. After succeeding as an amateur performer, she is now betting on her luck as a professional.

Diego Dibos (Peru) – The former lead singer of the award-winning Peruvian group “TK,” Diego’s music has crossed borders and his concerts have taken him all over Latin America.

Donatella (Mexico) – A versatile singer, actor, host, model and dancer, she got her start in television after winning a scholarship to the Center for Exclusive Studies for Television (Centro de Estudios Exclusivos para Televisión) in Mexico. She made her debut in musical theater appearing in the musical “Carmen” in 2004.

Fedro (Mexico) – Backup singer for stars such as Alejandra Guzmán and Ninel Conde, Fedro currently tours with pop star Gloria Trevi. In 2007, he released his first album “Besos Excesos” in Mexico.

Fela (Mexico) – A talented singer, Fela has been a backup singer and vocal arranger for the musical productions of many Latin music stars, including Emmanuel, Lupita D’alessio, Lucero, Pepe Aguilar and Ana Bárbara, among others. Most recently she was the lead backup singer for Mexican crooner Alejandro Fernández.

Ojeda (United States) – A dancer, model and songwriter, Ojeda has worked with stars of the likes of Paulina Rubio, Maribel Guardia and Lorena Herrera, among others. In 2003, this Mexican singer launched his career and recorded the grupero album, “Si Tú No Estás,” which allowed him to open concerts for such famous artists as Ana Bárbara.

Paco de María (Mexico) – After several years of knocking on doors, Paco de María was able to record his first album just as he always dreamed: accompanied by a 45-piece orchestra. In “Enamórate,” he lends his uniquely fresh personal style to the timeless rhythms of big band.

Sergio Antonio (United States) – With no formal training in music, Sergio Antonio is a self-taught Mexican guitarist and songwriter. His talent has impressed many, including Regional Mexican music idol Joan Sebastian who personally helped Sergio polish his act as a singer and songwriter.

Yarka Miller (Spain) – After years of collaborating as a producer, songwriter and guitarist with Spain’s Belén Arjona, today Yarka owns his own music label and music publishing company, “Kiddo Project,” in Madrid.

Yessica (Mexico) – A versatile artist who loves to sing different music genres, Yessica began her career singing at contests and family events in her native Mexico. After six years in the music business, she joined “Grupo La Onda,” a renowned music group with which she recorded three albums.

Zone D’Tambora (Puerto Rico) – Created by merengue star Elvis Crespo, Zone D’Tambora’s members Emilio Acevedo, Gabriel Vera, Josué Bosque and Pedro Valentín are all very talented performers and musicians. They have toured with Crespo across the U.S. as well as Central and South America, accompanying him on his song “La Foto Se Me Borró.”

Zuly (Mexico) – After recording her first solo album, Zuly was invited to go on a nine-month tour with Joan Sebastian, performing different duets with the famous singer/songwriter.