Santiago, X-Cessives co-champions in NMI’s Got Talent

Posted on Dec 21 2020


For the first time since launching the CNMI’s Got Talent contest, Bridge Capital LLC named two winners in this year’s edition of the contest last Friday via Zoom meeting that was attended by 300 viewers. The grand prize title and $2,000 cash prize were given to two—13-year-old Donna Rose Santiago for the youth division and to local dance group X-Cessives for the adult division.

Brothers Leonard, Matthew, and Kyle—or The Manuels—captured The Governor’s Choice Award, which is usually the choice of the governor.

Santiago and the X-Cessives impressed the judges and bested 14 other contestants with their song-and-dance performances that captured the competition’s theme: “Island Christmas.”

Santiago sang “Walking Around the Christmas Tree” wearing a Santa Claus costume. The X-Cessives did a skit/dance number that involved a front-liner who had to leave her family on Christmas day to work in the hospital, caught the COVID-19 virus, but recovered and reunite with her family.

For the virtual show Friday night, the slate of talents, consisting of singers, dancers, and other performances, were judged by a panel that watched pre-recorded performances of the finalists. This way, the talents were given time to practice on stage before their performances.

The judges were composed of first lady Diann Tudela Torres, Saipan Mayor David Apatang’s representative Joann Aquino, Tinian Mayor Edwin Aldan, Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig, and Saipan Rotary Club president Sonya Dancoe. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres was also present throughout the competition to help pick the Governor’s Choice Award.

“What a great evening it has been. We had so many great performances that were so impressive. I am so glad that Bridge Capital does this event every year and I never cease to be amazed by how many talents we have right now,” said Bridge Capital general manager Bartley A. Jackson. “I want to thank the judges and the people as this is our first Zoom event and it was a great success. …We had over 300 people logged in. …We didn’t expect it but now that things are done a little differently, we are proud to be a part of this and happy that we could support the performing arts the way we do.”

The first runner-up winners won $1,000 and they are Donato Santiago for the youth division and Patrice Jean Aureo for the adult division. Second runner-up winners won $500 and they are Heaven Angeline Palacios Murphy for the youth division and The Manuels for the adult division.

New awards were given this year—Donna Rose Santiago won The Most Chistmassy Performance, while Angelo Rabe won The Community Choice. This new award was presented in a bid to involve the community, where the virtual audience chose who their favorite performer.

Bridge Capital showered the Zoom audience with in-show raffle prizes—Rona Flawau won a $300 gift certificate from Amazon, Aira Joy Velasco won a Samsung cellphone worth $800, Amie Vadal won a $400 gift certificate from Amazon, and Ann Lagmay Velasco won a brand new iPhone 12 worth $900.

This year’s roster of talents wowed Torres. “Excellent performances! Thank you so much to Bridge Capital for giving us [this] opportunity,” he said.

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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