PORT ISABEL — From participating in church and school choirs to performing and competing with high school and university mariachi groups, Michael Bernard, 21, has been wowing audiences with his vocal capabilities for years.
Most recently, Bernard’s talents have led him to perform and compete on EstrellaTV’s show “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento.”
The show’s 25th season premiered on Monday, Sept. 20, and airs new episodes Monday through Thursday at 8 p.m. Pacific Time and 7 p.m. Central Time.
In early September, Bernard traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the first round of the show.
The show is hosted by Luis Coronel, a singer of regional Mexican music. The panel of judges include — radio and television personality Don Cheto, music artist Ana Bárbara, radio host, composer and music producer Pepe Garza and musical artist El Fantasma.
“I feel humbled and blessed,” Bernard said. “I really love that I have this opportunity to represent the Valley on such a big scale.”
Bernard had always wanted to try a performance competition like “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento,” so when the opportunity presented itself, he decided to go for it.
“It wasn’t something that I had planned,” Bernard said. “One day I was looking up online for this show’s audition and they were accepting so it was a spontaneous move to submit a video of me singing, fill out the application and send it in.”
About two weeks after applying, Bernard received a call from the show and was flown out to Los Angeles a week later.
“When I got to Los Angeles, I was a bit in culture shock at first because the culture, especially the Mexican culture, is completely different compared to here in the Valley,” Bernard said. “That was a big awakening for me in terms of how people are and the different cultures that exist in Mexican culture itself.”
Bernard recalled at the beginning of the trip, that he didn’t feel very ecstatic about being there even though he had always wanted to try something like this because his mind was clouded with different things at the time.
However, something happened on the day of his audition that changed everything.
“My mother had sent a photo that somebody had published of my late grandmother and me when I was little,” Bernard explained. “They had published the photo on Sept. 9, 2015, and it came up in her memories, which was the date of the audition, which was Sept. 9, 2021. So it felt like she was with me throughout this whole thing and reminding me to focus on just being there and actually enjoy the experience.”
Bernard said when he got on stage to perform it felt amazing because it was an experience more than he expected.
There were two things that happened during the audition that Bernard recalls really standing out.
“The first was when I told Pepe Garza that I was from Port Isabel and he immediately knew exactly where that was,” Bernard said. “He said it’s the little town right before you cross over the bridge onto the island.”
The other occurrence that stood out to Bernard was when Bárbara began recording him with her phone while he sang “Se Veía Venir” by Marco Antonio Solís.
“She was recording and after I finished, she told me that she was going to send that video to him,” Bernard said. “That made me super ecstatic just to even have that opportunity of him seeing me sing so that was really nice.”
Bernard also recalled a moment when Garza gave him feedback.
“It felt nice to hear that I did well coming from somebody who knows music and who’s whole life is basically revolved around music. It was like a breath of fresh air,” Bernard said. “I’m always told by people that I sing well and although it is true in their minds that I do sing well, it just felt nice that somebody in the industry could see that in me because it gave me the confidence to go for it and be myself.”
Bernard received a yes from all of the judges to move on to the second round and will perform a different song next month.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 22, the episode with Bernard’s first round performance hasn’t aired yet.
The show’s latest episodes can be viewed online at https://tinyurl.com/4ny66pdh.