Fil-Ams organize voting parties for Jessica

By Inday Espina-Varona with Kristine Repolina
Posted at 05/16/2012 9:13 PM | Updated as of 05/16/2012 9:39 PM


On any other day, two show choirs and four soloists are enough to bring in big crowds to the Eastwood Tavern and Bowl in Chula Vista, Calilfornia.

But on Wednesday night (Thursday morning in Manila) Paul Prudente, Brandon Dane, and Krystle Cruz will play supporting roles at the popular Chula Vista night spot. The star of the show will be Jessica Sanchez, the 16-year old Fil-Mex-American who will be battling it out for a spot on the finals of "American Idol."
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"It's coming down to the wire folks … help us push Jessica Sanchez to the finale!" Dennis Llavore wrote in a Facebook note. Llavore, his wife Mayra and daughter Milani are members of the Facebook group, "Viewing & Voting Party in support of Jessica Sanchez."
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Of the 461 people invited to join the party, 31 have confirmed and 14 others are "maybe's." The organizers believe the crowd could top 100 on Wednesday night.
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If Sanchez makes it to the finale, then it's a whole different ballgame, very likely a huge pep rally at the Eastlake Middle School football field where Sanchez performed during her Top 3 homecoming weekend.

If Sanchez gets to duke it out for the title of American Idol, people could be streaming from all points of San Diego's sprawling US Navy base and nearby housing communities.
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It will be a melting-pot audience of different economic classes, races and lifestyles. A young woman said she will be heading straight for the vote party after a youth Bible study session.

"What a great time! I plan on voting more than our 700 votes. Sending a big hug to all those that helped Jessica get here. She deserves this win!," wrote Cindy Ledesma Cartmill on the group page.




*House parties
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A few hours away, in bustling Los Angeles, photographer Hydee Ursolina Abrahan is preparing for yet another Idol voting party. Between 10 to 15 people are expected to gather at the recreation room of her house for a communal swooning exercise -- and some furious fingerwork.
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In a phone interview with Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo, Abrahan said her group sends tweets and posts photos on Facebook during "Idol" performance nights "to encourage other Jessica fans to watch and vote." Some people will vote more than 50 times by using different browsers. The use of Skype apparently can also increase the number of votes you can send through different addresses.
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Abrahan said her group has been holding these potluck meetings since Jessica entered the Top 12. But the number of voting parties multiplied when Sanchez got the lowest number of votes among the Top 7.

The "Idol" judges exercised their lone "save" of the season for the pint-sized singer with a voice that is equal parts powerful and lyrical.
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To increase the number of votes for Sanchez, Abrahan and company text friends her assigned number for the performance night.

"Wherever they (Fil-Ams) are, we update them of the active numbers for Jessica. Then we vote together," she added.
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Voting can exact a toll on aging arm muscles, which is why young people are able to impose their tastes on the popular reality show.
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"Copy-paste, copy-paste lang 'yung sa text. Copy, paste, send lang. 'Yung sa computer medyo mahirap because my ita-type ka pa na captcha code," said Abrahan.
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She is expecting veteran actor Bernardo Bernardo to join their company on Wednesday despite a tight schedule attending night courses and running an ambulance company.
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'The world is listening'
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Bernardo is the creative force behind a slew of postcards being shared among Sanchez's fans on Facebook.

"I try to rally people days before the actual performance. We put up reminders. Ang feeling ko, 'yung emotion ko, may paniniwala ako na I can help other people to come to help her kasi napakadali naman talaga," Bernardo said.
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"Ako mismo ang nag-create ng mga postcards dina-download ko ang mga pictures and hinahanap ko 'yung best kasi 'yung una kailangan ma-attract 'yung Mexican votes, Filipino votes, American votes. … ang tagline ko 'The world is listening'."

Those who want to learn more about the mechanics of voting can check out other posters on the Facebook page of Bernardo Bernardo.
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Bernardo rattled off several unofficial groups from San Diego to the downtown LA area. Some are young people, some groups are composed of "a more mature crowd." Everyone shares the same level of enthusiasm.
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"The message I want to send out is we should be proud of Jessica, make the most of this opportunity," the actor said. "This is a great stage. The whole world is listening to this young Filipina-American-Mexican. This is a rare event that we are all able to unite through this online voting. With so many Filipinos world wide, with so many with laptops, all it needs is to spread the word," the award-winning actor said.