Duos take home grand prizes in talent show


Grand prize winning dance duo Cookies and Cream receive their cash prizes from Bridge Capital’s founders Josh Baldwin and Shawn Scott last Friday at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan in San Antonio. (CHRYSTAL MARINO)

This year’s edition of Bridge Capital LLC’s Christmas-themed CNMI Got Talent 12 saw two-person acts as the winning combination that bagged the grand prizes in both categories of 16-and-under and 17-and-above age groups.

Held at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan’s Magellan Restaurant in San Antonio last Friday, Bridge Capital handed out prizes that totaled over $15,000, with the grand prizes in the adult and children’s category at $2,000 each and special awards at $1,500 each.

The grand prize winner in the adult division, as well as the awardee for the “Most Christmas-y” performance was the dance duo Cookies and Cream, composed of Joe Balagon and Cire Joseph Dela Paz Durano, who earned the combined amount of $3,200 in prize money.

The Grace Christian Assembly’s tambourine team was the runner up in the adult division, which won them $1,500. The team also received the Founder’s Choice award, which got them $1,500. Ronilo De Belen placed second runner-up in the category, earning for himself $1,000.

In a later interview, Balagon said “We enjoyed our routine. …Thank you everyone for supporting us, especially our manager…Ester Sablan. Thank you for believing in us.”

When asked what does dance mean them personally, Balagon said their goal is always to inspire kids. Durano added, “My message is always be confident in yourself. Never doubt yourself, always trust and believe in yourself, because if you don’t trust in yourself you will never get where you want to be.

In the 16-and-under division, 13-year-old singing duo Princess Nicole Rigua and Alyana Marie Rotap, who sang Rocking around the Christmas Tree, took home the $20,00 grand prize.

Teen dance group Profound Bandits placed first runner-up in the contest, winning $1,500, while 8-year-old Roanne Palma took home $1,000 as second runner-up.

Throughout the event, many raffle prizes were give away and among the giveaways were flatscreen TVs, smartphones, tablets, and several cash prizes.

The Christmas-themed contest not only highlighted the variety of talents in the CNMI, but also drew many spectators, as well as many of the contestant’s peers to the.

Bridge Capital co-founder Josh Baldwin said he felt ecstatic due to the competition’s turnout. “I feel wonderful. So much talent, and such great public response.”

Company co-founder Shawn Scott echoed the same sentiments “Amazing talent tonight. Really an amazing night and so much talent here.”

Baldwin noted: “Christmas time is our favorite time of the year by far, and it’s a wonderful time to celebrate. The islands have so much talent and it [this] makes people happy, that’s why we do it.”

“We love Christmas we love the holidays, and we love being here on Saipan on the holidays,” Scott added.

In promoting the giving spirit of the holidays, the event’s attendees were encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for less fortunate children, and many individuals and families followed through, filling the donation “train” set with brand new children’s gifts by the end of the night.

Chrystal Marino | Correspondents | Correspondents
A correspondent for Saipan Tribune, Chrystal Marino enjoys travelling, writing and meeting new people. When she is not writing, she finds ways to be involved in the community. She currently covers community beats. For any community news stories reach out to her at chrystal_marino@saipantribune.com.
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