Yes, I know that "Hmong Idol" was over a year ago, but a recent YouTube clip got me thinking about it again. It's a Hmong dub version of "American Idol" featuring the talentless crowd-favorite, Sanjaya, singing the Lee Pao classic, "Ntuj no tuaj lawm." (I've written previously about this song and its myriad interpretations on YouTube, and I hope to write more soon.)
Of course, the real winner of the 2005 "Hmong Idol USA" contest was, Pagnia Xiong - a talented young singer whose performances can also be found on YouTube, including this classy rendition of "Plaub sab phab ntsa." (Brief interview of Xiong from Asian Wisconzine).
With it's wide vocal range and sustained phrase endings (providing ample opportunity for extensive R&B obbligati), "Ntuj no" actually wouldn't be a bad choice for an "American Idol" audition. A girl from Pagnia Xiong's hometown (Sarah Krueger of Eau Claire, WI) actually made it to Hollywood Week this year, and it doesn't seem improbable that someone like Pagnia couldn't make it there, too. Whoever it is, I just hope they're a Melinda, not a Sanjaya. (If Melinda doesn't win this season, there is no justice in the world.)