American Idol: Nicaragua

There’s been a flurry of activity here for me this week in Nicaragua, starting with the English Singing Competition. An alternate name for this post is “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” My greatest regret of the week is that I most unfortunately forgot to bring my camera on Tuesday to the competition.

Amer IdolThis week I came to realize that life in Peace Corps Nicaragua is just like living through a series of reality TV shows. I’ve already talked about Survivor and Shark Tank, and this week I experienced American Idol. A coordinator at the Department of Education that I work closely with invited me and a Peace Corps colleague to be judges at the León English Singing Competition. It is a nationwide competition where English classes perform English language songs and are judged based on their pronunciation, performance, and signing ability.

Including Isabel and me, there were four judges (one other was an English teacher who didn’t have a team competing, and the fourth was an American teenager spending his summer in León alone without his parents. He is going into high school this year, and he was helping the other teacher/judge with English classes, so that’s how he got tapped for the job). We sat at a table in the front of the auditorium and had a rubric on which we evaluated all of the competing teams. No, we did not get to publicly critique them after each performance (thankfully, since I have no idea how to say pitchy in Spanish. They were all a little pitchy, dawg). However, half way through the competition the coordinator from the Department of Education brought us each a bottle of Coca Cola.

American Idol JudgesThe Good:

“Let Her Go” – Passenger (with guitar accompaniment)

“I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston (yes, she hit the notes)

“Let it Be” – The Beatles (also with guitar accompaniment)

“Dear Mama” – Tupac (I thought it was great how this boy was able to rap the whole song)

The Bad:

Most of the rest

The Ugly:

Some Avril Lavigne song where the girls sounded very squeaky and danced around a boy that did nothing other than grin


It seemed like most of the students worked really hard at their performances and practiced a lot. I would love to judge the competition again in the future.

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