Son Of American Samoa Lands Spot On American TV Show

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YouTube videos help get Ieti on America’s Got Talent

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, May 30, 2014) – A son of American Samoa in the military, who makes youtube videos, which have gone viral on the internet for over two years, Paul Iloilo Ieti has made his way to America’s Got Talent (AGT) an American television series on the NBC television network.

Ieti, 21, from Aoa, is among the hundreds of those who auditioned to perform in the show, which is slated to begin on July 29, 2014. The premier of the AGT show was on NBC on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

According to wikipedia, the producers' auditions began on Oct. 26, 2013 in Miami, Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and New York. Next month, on Apr. 8, 2014, NBC announced that America’s Got Talent will return to Radio City Hall Music for the live shows, which will begin on July 29.

Ieti is currently stationed in Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. He is a U.S. Army Private First Class- Petroleum Supply Specialist.

Samoa News asked Ieti through email what prompted him to audition for America’s Got Talent — and Ieti replied that AGT reached out to him to audition. "I was contacted by America’s Got Talent a few months ago, as they said they’ve seen my videos."

Samoa News notes that when the AGT show reached out to Ieti he had recently returned to his base in Georgia from Afghanistan.

Ietil has numerous videos on youtube where he sings ‘covers’ of his favorite songs by famous singers such as Rihanna, Marc Anthony, Etta James, Beyonce and others. He has close to 800,000 viewed and more than 13,000 have subscribed. According to his youtube page, he created an account in February 2011 and had since posted, "hey everyone i hope you enjoy all my videos... just sharing a God given talent."

He told Samoa News that "it’s a blessing to take part in the America’s Got Talent show, and also a blessing knowing that I get to share my God given talent. It literally feels like a dream. I have waited for something like this for a very long time." He further told Samoa News that he’s honored to participate in the AGT show while taking American Samoa’s name with him. He dedicates this journey with America’s Got Talent to his parents, Akenese and Lemaua Ieti.

"I wish my parents were here so I could share this journey with them. They have always pushed me and supported me with my singing. This is for them." A 2010 graduate of Fagaitua High School, Ieti said, "I am going to give Americas Got Talent a taste of what our people are capable of doing when it comes to our musical talents."

He also pointed to the glory of God for his talent and says he will carry American Samoa on his shoulders as he performs on national television.

"To my Mom and Dad, I have missed you both but God’s timing is important and until then… thank you for your endless support and the love that you have shown me."

He concluded that this is also for "all American Samoans… as our motto is — Samoa, put God First." (Samoa muamua le Atua.)

According to Ieti’s mother, Mrs. Akenese Ieti, Paul is the third eldest of seven boys and her only child in the military. She told Samoa News that her son has been singing since he was 13 years old and he participated in the FHS Choir for three years.

Samoa News notes that Paul was the winner of the Star Search, which was hosted by Sina and Vaipuna Levaula back in 2010, and was named winner of the Catholic Church Youth Singing Competition several years ago.

Paul’s mother told Samoa News that when she and her husband first received word that Paul had signed up for the military, "We thought that was the last of his singing path. But we were shocked to hear from people talking about the youtube videos of Paul singing, and sometimes he was singing from Afghanistan."

She said she prayed day and night for her son’s safety when he was in the war zone, and yet when she saw her son’s videos on youtube "that sort of comforted me".

"Like any mother, we worry and are on our knees praying that no harm comes his way," she said as her voice broke.

According to his mother, during his breaks from his duties in Afghanistan her son recorded himself singing or other soldiers recorded him singing.

Mrs. Ieti further stated that prior to joining the military Paul was approached by many local bands to be a singer but she urged him to use his God given talent in the church and other places where his singing may be of help or comfort to people. She advised him to stay away from the night clubs.

Paul’s mother asks the public to support her son when the show airs in July this year. It’s unclear if this is the first time an American Samoan has auditioned for the well known show.

According to wikipedia. NBC’s talent competition is currently in its ninth season and part of the global British Got Talent franchise. "It is a talent show that features singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, and other performers of all ages competing for the advertised top prize of one million dollars."

Among its significant features is that it gives an opportunity to talented amateurs or unknown performers, with the results decided by an audience vote.

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