Magician Neil Fama and singer Donato Santiago Jr. are the winners of Bridge Capital’s CNMI Got Talent 2021 last Friday at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan’s Charley’s Cabaret.
The two first-placers won $2,000 each, with Santiago taking home another $1,500 for winning the “Most Christmas-y” award. There were a total of 17 performances, and two categories: 16-and-over/adult and 16-and-under.
First and second runners-up in the adult category was dance group “Class of 670” and Dandan Middle School teacher and juggler Simon Necesito, who took home $1,500 and $1,000 respectively. “Class of 670” took home another $1,500 for winning the “Founder’s Choice” award, and Necesito took home another $1,500 for winning the “Community Choice Award.”
First and second runner-up in the 16-and-under category were singers Jane Mozunder and Bernice Sabino, who took home $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.
Bridge Capital LLC said last Friday that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres was unfortunately unable to attend the event, and as such there was no “Governor’s Choice” award this year. To make up for this, Bridge Capital announced an additional winner of the $1,500 “Founder’s Choice” award, which went to singer and performer James Selepeo.
Jody Jordahl, vice president and chief investment officer for Bridge Capital, said Friday that he has been involved with Bridge Capital and the talent show for seven years now, and that this was the first-ever year where auditioning was opened up to past winners.
Jordahl said that over 25 people auditioned this year and “it’s just a difficult choice” to narrow down the performances to a final 17. He said he and Bridge Capital would more than enjoy having all performers come out, but said that doing so would risk the show running past three to four hours. A selection committee that includes Bridge Capital owners choose who makes the final show.
Despite this being Bridge Capital’s 11th year of hosting this event, Jordahl is still “blown away by the amount of talent that’s here in the CNMI.”
“We’ve been doing this now for 11 years. We’ve just seen so many amazing acts come through, and it’s so varied as well— you’ve got magicians, you’ve got dancers, you’ve got singers, you’ve got opera singers, instrumentalists. …So again, we’re just blown away by the amount of talent that’s here in the CNMI [and] are lucky to be a part of it,” he said. During intermissions, Bridge Capital held 10 raffles, selecting winners from a pool consisting of people who tuned in virtually to last Friday’s show through Zoom. Around $15,000 in prizes were given away last Friday. These prizes included cash, 60-inch and 65-inch flat-screen TVs, an Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, Apple iPad, and Apple Watch.
Last Friday’s event host Brad Cleven asked winners to stop by Bridge Capital’s main office in Garapan to claim their prizes.