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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Kalihi warehouse phone team pumps out votes for Jasmine

 •  No tears from Jasmine but harsh critique from judges
 •  Firm defends 'Idol' voting
 •  'Idols' concert Sept. 28-29
 •  Special: Hawai'i's American Idol
Read the stories about Hawai'i's "American Idol" hopefuls, vote in our online poll and chat away on our discussion board.

By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer

A legal secretary sat across from a defense consultant, who was a few chairs away from a teacher — all were among scores of Island residents who gathered last night at a Kalihi warehouse with one mission: Help "American Idol" hopeful Jasmine Trias survive another round.

Aryn Nakaoka, operations manager for Progressive Communications of Hawaii, helped Helen Nakagawa of Honolulu call in a vote last night for Jasmine Trias. Progressive set up about 100 telephones on 10 tables.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Progressive Communications, a local telecommunication and data company, presented a voting party that drew more than 80 Trias supporters. Family members and friends of the company, as well as students and alumni of Maryknoll School, turned out. So did U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo.

"I think she's been performing very good, very admirably, and I'm here to show my support," Kubo said. "I think she's a perfect example of a local girl making good."

The field will be cut tonight to the final two singers. Fantasia Barrino and Diana DeGarmo are the other finalists.

If any one place typified Hawai'i's support for Trias, it was Progressive Communications' cramped telephone systems warehouse. The makeshift calling center had just enough room for two rows of 10 folding tables and nearly 100 telephones. Organizers rented air conditioners and provided callers with pizzas and bentos. The itchy-fingered voters ate while watching Trias perform on an 8-by-8-foot screen, then promptly began voting at 8 p.m.

Last week, a three-member team completed 10,000 votes for the 17-year-old Mililani finalist, said Aryn Nakaoka, operations manager at Progressive Communications.

"We're aiming for 80,000 calls with an 80 percent success rate, so that would equal 60,000 votes," Nakaoka said.

He said the process is entirely legal and within the rules. "This is not power dialing," Nakaoka said. At the voting party, all attempts to the 866 number associated with Trias were not made by computers, but by "actual humans" relying on the speed of their fingers, he said.

"However, since we are utilizing a dial tone provider (Pacific LightNet Inc.) who's focused on the business market, their lines are an open freeway during the evenings," Nakaoka said.

The voting period will be extended to four hours for next week's finale.

"We'll probably do something, if not larger, just to continue showing local support for her," Nakaoka said about next week's finale, should Trias advance.

Alex Pura, 35, of Royal Kunia, is a friend of the Trias family and helped call in votes.

"She has always been trying to achieve greater heights in her skills, singing and dancing," said Pura, an associate defense consultant. "She was meant to be up there."

Shop planner Deanna Oshiro, 36, said while Trias may not be the best singer in the competition, she has the best personality and look.

"We're like an 'ohana," she said. "Regardless of how (she) performs, we back (her) up 100 percent."

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