Tagiilima and James reach for the stars

By Adel Fruean ,

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Historical moment for Samoa Star Search 2018 to have two winners - James Vito and Tagiilima Fiti (right).

Historical moment for Samoa Star Search 2018 to have two winners - James Vito and Tagiilima Fiti (right). (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Two of the five finalists at Samoa Star Search 2018 were for the first time declared joint-winners on Saturday night.

This is the first time since the Star Search competition was launched for the talent show to have a tie with both Tagiilima Fiti and James Vito impressing the judges. The latter took the Samoan category and the former won the People’s Choice award and English category. 

The five finalists were Michael Westerlund, Nissan Aitui, Tagiilima, Neta Sarafina, and James.

Tuanaimato, Gym 1 was packed with supporters, families, and members of the public who were eager to witness a great show not only from the contestants, but also performances by dance crew, Samoa Toa and the Samoan band Punialavaa.

Tagiilima expressed her heartfelt gratitude towards her family’s support, especially her parents. She also thanked her friends, people who helped her with her song choices, the Seventh Day Adventist church and most importantly God for blessing her with a beautiful voice.

The 17-year-old from Laulii and Lalomanu added it was not an easy journey but was worth it in the end.

James said it was a well-deserved win between the both of them.

“I think Tagiilima is a very talented singer and I’m just so overwhelmed with joy but as everything must come to an end, we give back the glory to God almighty for his never ending support,” James said. 

Nissan Aitui one of the five competitors. Photo/Misiona Simo
Nissan Aitui one of the five competitors. Photo/Misiona Simo
Neta Sarafina a competitor in this year's star search. Photo/Misiona Simo
Neta Sarafina a competitor in this year's star search. Photo/Misiona Simo
Michael Westerlund sings in the star search finale. Photo/Misiona Simo
Michael Westerlund sings in the star search finale. Photo/Misiona Simo

“I thank my family, our church, friends and everyone who never gave up on me and my dream. I want to keep going in pursuing my talent, so that I can be the best.”

The 18-year-old from Siusega said he experienced problems with his voice when he got sick along the way in the competition but he pulled through by the power of prayer.

Star search judge Tanuvasa Faamanatu Solomona said: “It was not an easy decision for us judges but we were also shocked to find out after adding up all marks that they both tied 19-19 each.

“James nailed his English song with creativity and originality that he made that song his own. Tagiilima showcased great talent in performing and therefore taking the Samoan song category.

“We have come to yet another milestone with discovering so many young generations with undiscovered talents.”

Tanuvasa added how proud he was of all those who competed in this year’s competition because of the courage they all possessed to make their dreams come true.

The total value of the prizes for Samoa Star Search 2018 winner is $16,000 which – due to the tie between the two winners – will now be split. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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