American Idol Experience Stage

Two for Tuesday: Chicagoans with Latin Flavor

Do you believe dreams can come true? Television shows such as Fox’s American Idol and NBC’s The Voice have made it possible for these two Chicagoans to live their dreams while reconnecting with their roots.

Today, we bring you two voices that spice up television with Latin flavor.

Our Space Devin VelezSince January, my Wednesday and Thursday evenings have consisted of making sure I’m home to catch each episode of American Idol Season 12. If anyone needs me during the show, they’ll have to wait– American Idol is on and I don’t accept any interruptions. One of the youngest contestants this season, eighteen-year-old Devin Velez from Portage Park (¡Viva Chicago!), is known for singing bilingual songs that have been hits on the show.  His ability to sing in both Spanish and English demonstrates his vocal versatility. Did you notice he has blonde hair? Are you wondering if he’s Latino? Don’t let his hair fool you, he’s part Puerto Rican, part Columbian and belts out Spanish lyrics that are quite soothing to the ears. Don’t you agree? There’s a reason why he’s one of the nine remaining finalists on American Idol. Listen to his incredible vocals as he sings Armando Manzanero’s “Somos Novios (It’s Impossible).”

Devin Velez wasn’t the first to perform in Spanish on a reality game show/singing competition. Last season on The Voice, Chicago native Julio Cesar Castillo was the first American reality singing contestant to ever perform a song entirely in Spanish. Blake Shelton was the first to buzz-in and turn his chair around when he heard Julio belt out “La Bamba.” Last November the crowd cheered his name after he sang “El Rey,” which led to the first standing ovation of the night. His passion for Spanish music comes straight from the heart, and although not all Americans understood the lyrics he sang, they felt his emotions through his performance. He made it to Team Blake’s Top 5 where America chose two favorites from each team and then the coaches had their chance to save one of their top picks. While he wasn’t picked by America or saved by his coach, Julio had an inspiring journey on The Voice. Who would have thought a singer who grew up performing traditional mariachi music would have been lucky enough to make Latinos across America proud? Julio was a staple on the show and will be remembered. I foresee him having a chance on La Voz…México, part of the The Voice’s international franchise and the first Spanish version. Who knows what the future holds.


I applaud both men on their accomplishments and for being outstanding influencers within the Latino community!

Cover Photo Source: RadioFan at en.wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source: Natasha Jelezkina via Flickr

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]
Nicole Hernandez is the Social Media Manager at SJG. She’s a Chicagoan who graduated from DePaul University with a BA in Public Relations & Advertising and minor in Journalism. Nicole is known to her peers as being online all the time – while in her spare time you can find her taking footage on her phone as she’s rocking out at music festivals. She’s also training to be the new water girl at Chicago Bulls games (in her dreams). [/author_info] [/author]