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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 15, 2004

Kama'aina jazzed for Jasmine

By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer

The senior class stood front and center for classmate Jasmine Trias, the "American Idol" finalist, cheering for her during an assembly in her honor at Maryknoll High School's Rogers Hall.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

It was supposed to be an over-the-top entrance for the "American Idol" cameras: Hawai'i's "Idol" hopeful riding into Kuhio Beach on an outrigger canoe. The plan was she'd get out of the canoe and take part in a public torch-lighting near the Duke Kahanamoku statue.

But Mother Nature must be one of the few non-''American Idol" faithful. The muggy weather turned to rain — and Jasmine Trias' canoe entrance was scrapped in favor of a limousine arrival (though she did a quick canoe outtake for the cameras earlier). The torch-lighting participation was snuffed out.

None of which seemed to matter to the thousands of hysterical fans in Waikiki last night. "Jasmania" reached Beatlemania level, complete with rushing mobs, ear-piercing screams and blinding camera flashes — all for Trias on her brief two-day homecoming to capture more video for upcoming "Idol" shows.

And, perhaps, beyond.

Despite the wind and rain, droves of shivering devotees packed Kuhio Beach and spilled out onto Kalakaua Avenue, waiting to catch a glimpse of Hawai'i's rising star.

Trias arrived via stretch Ford Excursion limousine at the hula mound on Kuhio Beach, where Mayor Jeremy Harris proclaimed the day "Jasmine Trias Day in the City and County of Ho-nolulu." The ceremony included a conch shell blowing, chant and hula performance, as well as some impromptu autograph signings.

"I cannot believe this," Trias said to her screaming fans. "I mean, look at how many people are here. Thank you so much for all your support. ... You're a big part of my life."

A television crew from "American Idol" accompanied the 17-year-old Miliani teen. Some of the footage will be shown on Monday's "American Idol" special on Fox.

Organizers of the event had planned for a more picturesque ending to her stay, hoping to have Trias arrive at the beach via outrigger canoe. Besides the torch-lighting, the schedule was also supposed to include departing via horse-drawn-carriage down Kalakaua Avenue.

Tight schedule

Etalyn Jahier, talks with Jasmine Trias, at the Mayor's ceremony proclaiming May 14, Jasmine Trias Day. Thousands of people waited in the rain to get a glimpse of the American Idol contestant.

Scott Morifuji • The Honolulu Advertiser

All plans changed with the unfavorable weather conditions and a tight schedule.

Leila Delos Santos was among those braving the downpour last night to see Trias. The Makawao resident, 19, responded to criticism that Trias was winning a popularity contest and not a talent contest.

"People vote because they want to hear what's good," she said.

Delos Santos added there's nothing wrong with Hawai'i residents backing up one of their own.

"Whenever there's a Hawaiian or a local person striving for something, we go all the way with them ... until the end," she said.

Before leaving Waikiki, Trias made a stop at the city's Sunset on the Beach event, where she appeared on a 30-foot screen, again thanking hundreds of screaming fans for their support.

Trias, flown to Honolulu by "American Idol," flew back to Los Angeles last night.

She packed a full schedule into her less than 48-hour stay. She was at KSSK doing a radio interview by 6 a.m. and by 8:15 she made it back to visit her Maryknoll family, where more than 600 screaming students and faculty greeted a tearful Trias with dozens of signs and banners welcoming her back.

A senior who has missed most of her class activities this year because of "Idol" commitments, Trias stopped by the school for a 30-minute assembly in her honor. School officials, who dubbed the hysteria "Jasmania," presented her with lei. Trias joined the students in singing "The Power of Your Love" and the school's alma mater.

Mayor Jeremy Harris escorts Jasmine Trias from her limo, as she arrived at the Mayor's Proclamation ceremony proclaming May 14, Jasmine Trias Day.

Scott Morifuji • The Honolulu Advertiser

"I'm so happy to be here and see all my friends," said Trias, wearing a pink faux flower behind her ear. "I can't even stay for long, but it's all worth it."

Despite some rain, the crowd was in high spirits, waving colorful "Go Jasmine!" and "Hawai'i Loves Jasmine" signs over their heads.

"We're so proud of her, even before 'American Idol,'" said senior Pauline Chan, who has known Trias for four years.

Troy Kamiya, Trias' sociology teacher, remembers when Trias was a freshman and was too shy and embarrassed to sing in class.

"She came such a long way," Kamiya said. "... I'm just getting chicken skin right now thinking about it. We're definitely proud of her."

Trias' Maryknoll visit was just one of many appearances she made since arriving home Thursday morning. Her itinerary yesterday included a television news interview and radio spots.

Aloha spirit demonstrated

Thousands of people waited to get a glimpse of Jasmine Trias at the Mayor's proclamation of Jasmine Trias Day.

Scott Morifuji • The Honolulu Advertiser

Before her Maryknoll stop, Trias was a guest on the Perry and Price morning radio show, where "American Idol" segment producer Simon Lythgoe described the frenzy he has experienced with Trias.

"I had the privilege of going back to Clay Aiken's hometown at this time last year and he had good response," Lythgoe said. The response in Hawai'i, he said, was "1,000 times" greater. "I've never seen a response like this anywhere."

Trias has been making appearances with Lythgoe, as well as her father, Rudy Trias Jr., who was to fly back with her to Los Angeles.

"Just to be home and see all these people, the aloha spirit is so great," Rudy Trias said. "It's unbelievable the support she's getting from Hawai'i."

While Trias and her father were excited to be home and to meet fans, Lythgoe said Jasmine was in need of some down time.

"She needs to rest her voice because tomorrow she's got to record three songs for the show and if she makes it to 'American Idol' (next week), she records a single."

Reach Zenaida Serrano at zserrano@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-8174.