'It's Now or Never:' 2nd Infantry Division Solder takes grand prize
April 3, 2011
CAMP CASEY, South Korea - He went to sign up just one day before the competition and was told all the slots were filled. But when the curtain dropped, no-shows thrust him under the bright lights during which he belted out Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never" and with an assist from an enthusiastically approving audience, he walked off with the grand prize.
Jericho Anthony Del Rosario from Company E, 302nd Brigade Support Battalion, emerged as the champion from the pack of 20 who participated in the Warrior Country Talent Search competition at the Gateway Club here March 26. For his rise from outsider to center stage, Del Rosario claimed the $500 grand prize from the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
The slightly more than four-hour competition showcased a multitude of youth and adults abilities, including a flutist, comedians, poetic artwork and an array of vocalists and rappers.
As the competition progressed and the contestants showed off their various talents, each of them performed for the thrill of showing off their talent in front of a live audience. No one knew who would walk away with the grand prize.
As contestants preformed, the judges Sally Hall from the Camp Casey Community Activity Center, Brent Abare, deputy to the U.S. Army Garrison Casey commander, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Moore, 2nd Infantry Division Band commander, rated each on a 200-point scale.
In the end the stage was left with only 10 contestants, leaving it up to the audience to select the top three contestants.
After a hand was placed over each contestant's head ala Kiki Shepard by Sgt. Comfort Johnson, 70th Brigade Support Battalion, the outcome become obvious. Del Rosario, who had a large vocal Filipino fan base in the house received the most applause and praise and was crowned the Warrior Country Talent Search champion. The Heidi & Davis duo took second place and the $300 purse and Brian Jones claimed third place and $100.
Del Rosario said he loves to sing, but that he does it for fun and didn't expect to win the grand prize.
"I signed up for the competition on Friday - a day before the event - and I didn't even think that I would make it into the competition to be able to perform," he said. "When I signed up all the slots were taken. It all happened so fast that I didn't have the chance to call my wife."
Del Rosario said he plans to donate his winnings to the Japan disaster relief effort, a Korean orphanage and a homeless shelter in the local community.
The youth competition had three contestants and ran about 30 minutes. The winners were Pamela Walton-Lamb, vocalist, first place; Nevaeh Booker, vocalist, second place; and Amoriee Tucker, hip-hop vocalist, third place.
The top contestants advance to the finals at the Music and Arts Festival of the Performing Arts and Community Talent Show at Yongsan Garrison, April 23.