Marijke Rowland

Modesto singer ready to shine on Univision reality series

Father and daughter duo Mario and Liliana Hernandez sing “El Destino” during Valley’s Got Talent in 2015 at Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. They were co-winners of the Vocal Talent Achievement Award. Liliana will take part in the new season of the television talent series “Va Por Ti” (“All for You”) on Univision beginning July 17.
Father and daughter duo Mario and Liliana Hernandez sing “El Destino” during Valley’s Got Talent in 2015 at Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. They were co-winners of the Vocal Talent Achievement Award. Liliana will take part in the new season of the television talent series “Va Por Ti” (“All for You”) on Univision beginning July 17. Modesto Bee file

A Modesto singer is getting ready for her close-up on a popular Univision Spanish-language singing competition.

Nineteen-year-old Liliana Hernandez, a 2014 Johansen High graduate and current California State University, Stanislaus, student, will take part in the new season of the TV series “Va Por Ti” (which translates to “All for You”). The Univision reality show, which is like a cross between “American Idol” and “The Voice,” is returning for its second season Sunday, July 17.

Hernandez, who recently competed in the Talento Vivo en el Valle talent show at Gallo Center for the Arts, will join 28 other singers as part of the TV show, which has three established Latin music stars pick teams and coach their aspiring singers. Each week the judges will then evaluate their performances and then the public votes on their favorites. The winner will receive a recording contract and cash prize.

“I’m very excited. Finally I have the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. A lot of things haven’t happened for me, and I think this is maybe why. I’ve got to make Modesto known,” said the Stanislaus State kinesiology student.

Singing runs in Hernandez’s family. Her father, Mario Hernandez, was a professional singer with his own band for several years. The father-daughter pair competed in the Gallo Center’s popular Valley’s Got Talent last year and were named co-winners of the Vocal Talent Achievement Award. Hernandez performs regularly at weddings, birthdays and other special events. She also was the lead in last year’s Gallo Center production of the bilingual musical “Mariachi Girl.”

“I’ve been singing since I was 5 years old. This is where it all started. One day I just started singing and my dad realized I could do it, I could sing,” she said. “I’ve pushed myself to continue. I always had wanted to prove to my dad I could do it. He is my coach now.”

Last week Hernandez left for Mexico City, where the show is filmed and produced. Her journey began in April when she heard about an open audition for the show’s new season and attended. There she was selected in the Top 10 and went through a phone interview before being selected. TV crews came to her Modesto home to film background footage a little while later.

The show provides housing for the contestants during the show’s multiweek run. While there, Hernandez and the other singers will receive coaching, practice and will record. The finale is expected to air in the beginning of September. The other performers come from across the United States, Puerto Rico, Brazil and beyond.

While she is in her third year of studies at Stan State, Hernandez said her dream is to pursue music professionally. She sings mainly ranchera and mariachi music, but also has a taste for Mexican and American pop.

Hernandez said she can’t wait to be part of the show, and should appear in its premiere episode July 17. But after that she isn’t sure how it will go or what to expect. The show should air Sunday nights on Univision; check local listings.

“I’m excited and a little nervous – I am very nervous, honestly. But I am excited to be able to represent where I come from – Modesto, my family,” she said.


Elsewhere around the Scene:

The “American Pickers” episode featuring a stop in Oakdale aired last month on the History Channel.

The episode showed picking duo and show hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz driving through Oakdale and stopping to check out “Junkyard” Dave’s house on West F Street. The more than 100-year-old property is littered with stuff from bicycle parts to ice chests and, what caught Wolfe and Fritz’s eyes, a 1932 Ford Roadster Coupe. Dave told the hosts he got interested in the vintage cars after a souped-up one was used in the Modesto-based film “American Graffiti.”

The segment also mentions the Turlock Swap Meet and other Central Valley cities. Dave’s son, who has picked up the collecting bug, also appears. The duo left with a Harley-Davidson RL 45 frame and fork for $1,500.

The episode, titled “Scrappy Go Lucky,” is available to watch for free at www.history.com.


And finally, if you’ve watched the new season of “Orange Is the New Black,” you caught a Modesto name drop.

The Netflix series about the inmates, guards and staff of a fictitious women’s prison released its fourth season last month. In its fourth episode, titled “Doctor Psycho,” one of the incarcerated characters (Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, played by Emmy Award-winning actress Uzo Aduba) mentions her “cousin who lives in Modesto – that’s like ‘modest’ with an ‘O.’ 

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