Talented magician and a Fil-Am grabbed the top spots in CNMI Got talent contest

Neil Fama, grand prize winner of 2017 CNMI Got Talent. Image © Lori Lyn Lirio.

A TALENTED young magician last week clinched the top prize in the 7th Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Got Talent contest.

Northern Mariana College student Neil Fama, who delighted the audience with his magic tricks, made his family proud after winning the contest which was held at at the Royal Taga in World Resort. He won a total cash prize of USD$4,000 – USD$2,500 for winning the grand prize and USD$1,500 for Governor’s Choice award.

It is Fama’s second time to join and win in the Bridge Capital-sponsored competition.

“Three years ago, I joined with the glee club. We won first place. Tonight was my first time going solo,” he said.

During the talent contest, Fama showcased his magic tricks.

“It takes a lot of practice. I have been doing this for a year – studying magic trick books, online tutorials, advice from magicians.”

He thanked Leon Etienne, magician at the Sand Castle, for teaching and sharing to him some magic tricks.

“We met two months ago and he has been training me since. A handful of those tricks that I performed in the contest I learned from him.”

Taking up business course at the NMC, Fama said he would invest part of his cash prize to buying materials that he could be used for future magic gigs.

“I will put some of the money for my college and for my family.”

Fil-Am Karen Lagunay. Image © Lori Lyn Lirio

Fil-Am Karen Lagunay, of Tinian, took home a total of USD$2,000 – USD$1,500 for being the first runner up and $500 for Best in Tinian.

Lawrence Tubera, who has been competing for the third time, is this year’s second runner up. He won USD $1,000.

Third runner up is the The Band Nearby. They got USD$750.

Fourth runner up is Joel Fruit. He got USD$500.

Bridge Capital Chief Executive Officer John Baldwin said they have been doing talent shows for years.

“We learned that we never know what you find and the talent here tonight is as its finest. It is exciting seeing young people doing amazing things.”

Bridge Capital vice president Shawn Scott said: “who would think in a small place like the CNMI you have this much talent. It just amazes me that it is getting better and better every year.”

They both encouraged those who did not win to keep joining the talent competition.

In an earlier interview, Bridge Capital chief operating officer Tucker Baldwin said the purpose of holding such event is to encourage and to promote talent in the CNMI. He said the Bridge Capital is helping local artists, especially the winners of the CNMI Got Talent to get public exposure by inviting them to perform in the events.

In between performances, Bridge Capital also raffled off prizes including 60 inches Samsing Smart TV, 40 inches Series Samsung Smart TV, GoPro Here 5 with 45 accessories, Apple iPad, 2017 Apple Macbook, electric skateboard, iPhone 8, and cash prizes.

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