Soccer freestyler Joel Fruit made a triumphant return to the annual CNMI Got Talent last Saturday in a performance at the Pacific Islands Club that beat out nine other contestants and earned him the grand prize in the 9th edition of the competition.
Fruit, 21, who participated in the talent competition back in 2017, returned for a second shot to improve on his performance from two years ago.
Although his act was the same as the last time—juggling a soccer ball without the use of his hands—for this year Fruit put more effort into his act, his appearance, and in engaging the audience.
“I took it much more seriously this time around. This time I really focused on my preparation and I added messing around with the piano at the start so I guess it was really preparation. In 2017, my preparation was much worse like, for example, I just wore a T-shirt and I didn’t think about what I was going to do. It was more of me freestyling it,” he said.
This year, Fruit’s preparation started two weeks before the actual competition. “I’m so happy and I wasn’t expecting it all. I was just so happy when they called my name,” he said.
Fruit said he couldn’t have succeeded without the help he got from his mother. “My mom has always been so supportive of me and always does so much for me…,” he said.
First-runner up Angelo Rabe, who sang Oh Holy Night, feels immense gratitude after being named first runner-up winner, knowing that all of the other contestants also did really well.
“I devoted at least an hour per day for week to perfect my piece. Since I have full knowledge of utilizing my voice in classical music, I infused it with a pop Christmas song to give it a twist,” he said.
Rabe said he joined CNMI Got Talent because he wanted to share his talent and love for classical music and the art of singing.
“I have been practicing classical music since I was in elementary. I started as a boy-soprano before being a baritone. I had a clearer grasp of classical music when I entered college and joined our college choir,” he said.
The other winners of the night were Scene 10 who took second runner-up honors; Hyung Joo Kim, who took third runner-up honors; Donito Santiago, who won fourth runner-up;, and The Little Santa Groovers, who took home the Governor’s Choice award.