Fama bags grand prize and Governor’s Choice

Neil Fama, 7th CNMI Got Talent grand prizewinner (fourth from the right), poses for a photo with the event’s judges after being awarded $2,500 Wednesday night at the Saipan World Resort Taga Hall. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

A Northern Marianas College student bagged the 2017 CNMI’s Got Talent grand prize award and the Governor’s Choice award Wednesday night.

During Bridge Capital’s 7th Annual CNMI’s Got Talent, Neil Fama took home $4,000. He was awarded $1,500 by earning the Governor’s Choice award and another $2,500 by earning the CNMI’s Got Talent grand prize award.

The 19-year-old college student is an aspiring magician and has been practicing magic for a year now and this was the first time he performed his tricks in a competition like the CNMI’s Got Talent.

Fama’s year of practice was well worth it because he completely amazed Gov. Ralph DLG Torres with his prepared tricks.

Fama said it took a lot of time out of his day to perfect his tricks and he even took lessons from professional magician Leon Etienne from the Hyatt Regency Saipan’s Sand Castle.

“It takes a lot of time and practice…I’ve been studying books, online tutorials, and from Leon Etienne… a handful of the tricks I performed were thanks to him,” he said.

Fama performs in many events including birthdays and school functions. He is still training to further develop his craft despite the challenges that comes with magic.

“So right now I am still in training. It is very difficult but it is all worth it,” he said.

According to Fama, his dream is to travel the world and bring happiness through the art of magic.

Karen Lagunay, the first runner-up who came in tied with Fama, took home $1,500. She is a performer from Tinian and was sponsored to travel to Saipan by Star Marianas.

Lagunay also took home $500 for winning the special award called best in Tinian by default.

The second runner-up was singer Lawrence Tubera who took home $1,000, third runner-up was The Band Nearby who took home $750, and the fourth runner-up was soccer enthusiast Joel Fruit who took home $500.

Kimberly Bautista Bautista
Kimberly Bautista is the youngest in the stable of Saipan Tribune reporters. She has covered a wide range of beats, including the community, housing, crime, and education, for the Saipan Tribune.

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