Last night was the "Buscando una Estrella Para Jesús" singing contest or, as I like to call it, Padre Hoyos' answer to "American Idol". Singers from different local Catholic parishes compete, interpreting religious songs. They are rated by a jury of people with varying degrees of musical expertise, who usually come to conclusions that vary so much from my assessments that I no longer bother to try to guess who will come out ahead.
Last night was no exception and I left feeling that the primary criteria must be "sexy" and "female" rather than any discernible vocal qualities or originality of interpretation. The good performances by male singers far outnumbered the good performances by women this time and yet they were underrepresented in the final selection.
One of the two men who did win -- and deservedly so -- was my friend Marcelo. He sang a very moving "Ave Maria" at the end of the program and came away with the "Voz Revelación Masculino" certificate. He could easily have been a candidate for one of the bigger prizes but, like I said, the jury's criteria are inscrutable.
Marcelo, who is originally from Bolivia, was feeling good because he just got his permanent residency. Hopefully this will make life easier for him and his family. He has worked every type of job imaginable to support them and on Sundays, he leads the singing at St. Ann's and occasionally in other parishes. I have known him for years and he has done some excellent carpentry work in my house.
In the end, Marcelo doesn't need some jury to tell him if he's a star. Because of his hard work, his devotion to his children, and his commitment to the Church, Marcelo is already a star in God's eyes...and those are the only ones that count.