Ana Bárbara provides sympathetic ear on ‘Tengo Talento’

Rick's Reviews

Ana Bárbara is one of the judges on EstrellaTV’s “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento.” (Photo courtesy of Estrella Media)

The 24th season of EstrellaTV’s long-running talent competition series “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento” launched with a very big change to the format. This year’s battery of all female contestants have reflected the influence of Latina in entertainment.

Ana Bárbara, one of the show’s judges, definitely can understand that as she has been a prominent figure in the Latin entertainment community since she made her professional debut in 1994. Not only has she established herself as one of the major forces in regional Mexican music but she has worked as an actress, television personality and model.

She describes this season of the Spanish-language series that airs 8 p.m. Mondays as being one of the most important in the show’s history.

“It is very important to give women a very special place,” Bárbara says through a translator. “I think it is also important to give this type of message to the world.

“It’s a great honor for me to represent women in the regional Mexican genre. It has been a long journey in a music genre dominated by male artists, but consistency, the support and acceptance of my fans and the hard work that we’ve invested in this career have been the key factors that have maintained me here. And now, to be part of a season of Tengo Talento’ that is dedicated to women, well it makes me very happy and fills me with much satisfaction.”

“Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento” has the distinction of being the longest-running talent competition in U.S. Spanish-language television. There have been thousands of contestants who have auditioned across the country in a quest to find America’s next big Latin entertainment superstar. Unlike the music competition series “American Idol” or “The Voice,” the talent being judged on “Tengo Talento” includes music, comedy, dance and other types of acts.

Although Bárbara’s major strength is her musical background, she feels equally comfortable judging all of the different entertainment genres. Part of that comes from a long career or seeing a variety of performers.

“I also put myself in the TV audience’s shows and I think most of the time it is just common sense,” Bárbara says. “I know what I like and I don’t like and I think I can relate to the TV audience.”

Along with Bárbara, the panel of judges include: recording artist and TV star Chiquis; Spanish-language radio host, composer and music producer Pepe Garza; and TV and radio personality Don Cheto. Luis Coronel is the host.

Bárbara has noticed one major difference between this season and others. She has seen more confidence in the contestants because the women are competing only against other women.

“They are not fighting with the machismo or having to compete with males,” Bárbara says. “The women seem more sure about themselves.”

Bárbara can relate to what it means having to deal with a world that’s dominated by men. She has used 29 albums, more than 30 music videos, four music DVDS and sales of more than six million records to become one of the few regional Mexican acts to build  international following.

Her rise to stardom – and her foundation to be a judge – started in 1988 when Bárbara entered the local Miss Universe-sponsored Miss Mexico beauty pageant representing her native state of San Luis Potosí and won. That was followed by a host of talent shows where she had to deal with being evaluated by strangers.

She recalls how judges were very critical of her look. They were very blunt about how she dressed didn’t look good on her. What made that so hurtful was at that time she didn’t have a lot of options because coming from a small town, she didn’t have a strong understanding of fashion.

Those words made her feel bad while at the same time the comments made her stronger. She became focused on making sure that everything about her was designed to create the most entertaining person possible.

“Back then, I was very intimidated. It was a much different time,” Bárbara says. “I feel that I understand contestants better. This is why I act the way I do on the show where I am a little more empathetic.

“I understand what they are going through because when I was younger, I do remember feeling bad. So I try to support them and give them a little extra good vibes because I did not have that when I was younger.”

Her approach to dealing with a contestant who has not fared well is to present any negative comments as constructive criticism. What she tries to get across to those contestants is that a performer is evaluated on every aspect – from talent to fashion.

How she handles contestants can be seen as this special season of “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento” moves toward the finale.

EstrellaTV can be seen in Bakersfield on KBBV 19. It is carried by most major cable carriers and streamed everywhere on Samsung TV+, The Roku Channel, Xumo, and FuboTV.  

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