“I’m auditioning today because…it’s really for my dad.”
“American Idol” has returned with it’s first week of auditions and among the first round of contestants was 21-year-old Brandon Diaz. The aspiring singer hails from Ashburn, Virginia and is currently a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. When asked about his reason for auditioning, Diaz gave all of the credit to his father, who immigrated from Cuba to the United States at three years old.
“He’s an incredible vocalist. He’s taught me everything I know. He’s always searched for the American dream and he’s always pushed me [to do the same],” Diaz expressed after stepping into the audition room.
Diaz’s song of choice for the audition was “Unaware” by Allen Stone, which he nailed and blew the judges away. In particular, judge Lionel Richie was veryy impressed by Diaz’s falsetto. Katy Perry even commented that she thinks “he’s the best male singer we’ve seen so far and I think he’s top ten.”
The only judge who had a critique was Luke Bryan, who thought Diaz had gone too high on one of the notes during his audition. Honestly, if that’s the worst critique from the audition, you must be doing something right.
However, viewers across the internet disagreed with Luke Bryan’s comment.
CREDIT: AMERICAN IDOL / YOUTUBE
Altogether, the “American Idol” judges decided to send Diaz home with a golden ticket, which wins him a trip to Hollywood and a chance to further compete in the show.
Only one Latino has won “American Idol” so far and that was Scotty McCreery in 2011. Could Diaz be next?
For the full version of Diaz singing “Unaware” by Allen Stone, check out the video clip below:
To stay updated on Diaz’s journey, check out the next episode of “American Idol” which airs every Sunday and Monday at 8pm.
There’s no doubt that “American Idol” is a cultural phenomenon. During its 17 season run, the talent competition has brought us some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment industry. Not only did it reinvigorate Paula Abdul’s career, it also brought JLo back to our TV screens. That’s just the judges; the reality competition also began major careers. Without “Idol” we may not have ever heard of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood or Jennifer Hudson. While these former “Idol” alums wouldn’t trade the TV show experience for the world, not all of the former contestants have warm feelings about their time on the reality series.
Recently, former “American Idol” contestant Antonella Barba had a major run in with the law and is now her time on the show is being blamed for her illegal actions.
Twitter / @USATODAY
Back in 2007, Barba appeared on the reality television competition. The aspiring singer made it all the way to the Top 16 before she was sent home, however; the Latina did kick up some controversy during her time on “Idol.” For instance, the aspiring singer was photographed posing in a wet t-shirt at the fountain of a World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. This and other racy photographs of her that were leaked online around the time she was on “Idol.”
Though she tried to stay in the entertainment industry after “Idol,” the aspiring singer never made it big. The American public didn’t hear from Barba again until she appeared in the 2012 season of Fear Factor. Her problems with the law started soon after. In 2011, Barda was first arrested for shop-lifting in New York City and sentenced to do community service. In August of last year, the Latina was arrested on major drug charges. She has since pleaded guilty on possession and distribution of fentanyl — a highly addictive opioid that is deadly if abused as a recreational drug.
Court documents released ahead of her sentencing (scheduled for tomorrow) reveal that her time on the show is being b lamed for the downward spiral Barda’s life has since taken.
Twitter / @mjsbigblog
Shared by celebrity gossip site, The Blast, the documents explain that the former singer sees herself as a “resilient, deeply religious, selfless and driven person…someone who could rightfully be called a perfectionist.” However, Barba’s mother saw that being on the television show only brought “a detrimental change” to her daughter’s life.
The documents go on to suggest that, before “American Idol,” Barda’s dream was to be an architect. According to her mother, this dream was disrupted thanks to appearing on the reality show. The former singer suddenly dropped everything in order to move to Hollywood to pursue her new dream of stardom. However, according the the documents, it “was a recipe for disaster.” The papers go on to explain that losing the competition was a huge setback for Barda. As the court documents suggest, when the former star was unable to “achieve the results she wanted, it was devastating to her.”
The court documents being released now come after her most recent legal issue.
Twitter / @HeavySan
This most recent arrest comes from 2018 when she was found with a package of pills in her car. That arrest led to bigger trouble when she was accused by prosecutors of being a courier for a drug ring. According to the charges, Barda was one of eight members of the illegal operation that was operated out of Virginia during late 2017 and early 2018.
Barba was able to reach a plea deal for lesser time following this arrest but her attorney is now asking for an even more reduced sentence.
Twitter / @_ShattaBandle
The plea deal she got would still see Barba sentenced to 10 years in jail for her crimes. However, her lawyer is now arguing that the former singer was kept in the dark about the crime ring as a minor player. Besides being unaware that she was working with a drug ring, the former “American Idol” contest’s lawyer argues that she didn’t even know what was in the package she was carrying.
“The extent of Ms. Barba’s involvement in this case is limited to delivering one shipment of drugs and that single instance forms the sum total of her relevant conduct,” the newly released court documents argue. “Ms. Barba also did not participate in any of the planning or organization nor did she exercise any decision making authority. Ms. Barba was told where to go, when to go, and what to do when she got there.”
The court documents go on to explain that the Latina did not profit knowingly from any drugs.
“She did not break down the contents of the package into smaller amounts for resale and she did not collect any proceeds. She had no pecuniary interest in the package and did not stand to benefit in any way by the sale of the narcotics. Ms. Barba was paid only to deliver the package.”
“American Idol” has gone through a few transformation since it first hit TV screens with Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson. Many celebrities have lent their skills to the judges’ panel and many contestants have become stars on their own. One thing that hasn’t changed, Latino excellence on the show. Here are 19 Latinos who we still think about even years after their season because they are just so good.
1. Scotty McCreery, Season 10
CREDIT: scottymccreery / Instagram
Scotty McCreery is the first Latino to win “American Idol” and he has used his win to go place. Sure, it might be in folky, country music, but that’s what is so great about Latinos. We are diverse within our own community.
2. Michelle Sussett, Season 16
CREDIT: michellesussett / Instagram
Michelle Sussett caught everyone’s attention when she auditioned with a Selena song at the beginning. She kept her Latinidad in the forefront of her competition even singing the bilingual version of “Remember Me” from the Disney movie “Coco.”
3. Chris Medina, Season 10
CREDIT: officialmedina / Instagram
Chris Medina was a young, long-haird barista when he auditioned for “American Idol and he has certainly grown up since. He might not be blowing up the airwaves in the U.S., but Median is definitely a star in Europe, specifically Norway.
4. Andrew Garcia, Season 9
CREDIT: andrewgarcia / Instagram
Andrew Garcia made it to the top 10 on his season of “American Idol.” Since the show, Garcia has made a name for himself within the music world and is one of the many success stories from the show.
5. Ada Vox, Season 16 (and Season 12)
CREDIT: adavox / Instagram
Ada Vox first auditioned for “American Idol” for the 12th season as Adam Sanders. After losing that season, Sanders when home and soon the personality of Vox formed and Sanders found a voice. He made ‘American Idol” history by becoming a drag queen to advance to the top 10 before being eliminated, unjustly tbh.
6. David Archuleta, Season 7
CREDIT: davidarchie / Instagram
David Archuleta auditioned for “American Idol” when he was just 16 years old and he showed no fear. The young man became the youngest person to make it to the top finishing in second place for his season.
7. Jessica Sanchez, Season 11
CREDIT: jessicaesanchez / Instagram
Jessica Sanchez is the first female contestant of “American Idol” to get a judge’s save and it definitely was worth it. After the close call, Sanchez made it to second place behind Phillip Phillips.
8. Brandon Diaz, Season 16
CREDIT: brandondiazofficial / Instagram
From the smile to the hair, it is clear that no one is going to forget Brandon Diaz any time soon. The young man gave it his all on “American Idol,” even singing “Despactio” with Luis Fonsi during the duets but he just couldn’t make it to the top 14.
9. Victoria Acosta, Season 12
CREDIT: iamtrenation / Instagram
Victoria Acosta was all over the television when she was competing on “American Idol” with her mariachi singing chops. Now, she keeps a rather low-profile life with a private Instagram account.
10. Karen Rodriguez, Season 12
CREDIT: karenrodriguezofficial / Instagram
Karen Rodriguez used her time on “American Idol” to start her singing career and here she is years later signing a record deal. That is what you call determination, a quality we should all possess.
11. Jeremy Rosado, Season 11
CREDIT: iamjeremyrosado / Instagram
Jeremy Rosado sang his heart out on his season, even being a Wild Card contestant to shake things up. While eh tried his best, he wasn’t able to make it to the top 10. However, the young man is still singing so make sure you check him out.
12. Vanessa Olivarez , Season 2
CREDIT: volivarez / Instagram
Vanessa Olivarez is an OG “American Idol” name. She was there for the second season when everyone was still obsessed with the show, and Simon Cowell’s obsession with being mean.
13. David Hernandez, Season 7
CREDIT: dhernandezmusic / Instagram
There is just no denying that this man’s good looks definitely left an impression on the fans and judges. However, what he did for work before the show is what really caught folks attention. Hernandez is now using his name and fame to represent the LGBTQ community through music since coming out after the show.
14. Jason Castro, Season 7
CREDIT: jasoncastromusic / Instagram
Jason Castro surprised everyone with his voice when he auditioned for “American Idol.” Now, the singer makes a living with music and lives a nice life with his wife and children. Can’t be mad at that.
15. Syesah Mercado, Season 7
CREDIT: syesha / Instagram
Straight from Miami, Syesha Mercado was a force to be reckoned with on “American Idol.” Her voice was powerful and her tiny frame was the perfect vessel to deliver her gift to millions of Americans.
16. Allison Iraheta, Season 8
CREDIT: allisonirahetaofficial / Instagram
Even at the beginning, Allison Iraheta loved to use fun colors in her hair because why not. The singer might not have won her season but she is still making music and staying relevant in the music world.
17. Lazaro Arbos, Season 12
CREDIT: lazaromusic / Instagram
Lazaro Arbos made it all the way to the top 10 in his season and his talent is a major reason why. The Cuban native laid it all on the stage in the final performances trying to get the votes needed to win the prize.
18. Devin Velez, Season 12
CREDIT: devinai12 / Instagram
Devin Velez was one of the top 10 from season 12 and it is clear why. He has the voice. He has the look. He has the drive. Velez will always be remembered for his version of Andrea Bocelli’s “Somos Novios.”
19. Jorge Nuñez-Mendez, Season 8
CREDIT: American Idol / Fox
Jorge Nuñez-Mendez is a hard man to find on social media but he made a big splash on season 8. He made it to the top 15 before being eliminated despite his obvious talent.