NAMES & FACES

Mark Martinez was one of the hopefuls trying out in New York to be in a new version of the Latin pop group Menudo.
Mark Martinez was one of the hopefuls trying out in New York to be in a new version of the Latin pop group Menudo. (By Rick Maiman -- Associated Press)

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Monday, April 30, 2007

At Shot at Menudo

Forget "American Idol" -- the Latin boy band Menudo is coming back, and scores of teens turned out Saturday for auditions in New York City.

The hundred or so hopefuls sang a cappella in English and Spanish for a shot at becoming one of five new members of the re-formed group. They performed before a panel of -- does this sound familiar? -- two male judges and one female. Not surprisingly, the auditions were taped for an upcoming reality show called "The Road to Menudo" featuring the 12 finalists, Reuters reports.

"There were some who are really talented," said Jeff Weiner, the group's managing partner, during the tryouts at a Queens shopping mall, the last of four open calls. Previous auditions were held in Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles.

The Temptations'"My Girl" was the most popular choice from a list of five approved songs.

Debuting in 1977, Menudo enjoyed its heyday in the 1980s, changed its name to MDO in 1997 and disbanded in 2003. The group was known for retiring members when they turned 16, or when their voices or height changed too much. Current candidates must be at least 15 but appear younger than 19.

Menudo, whose most famous alumnus is Ricky Martin, will have a contract with Epic records and a single slated for release this year. The group will be co-managed by Johnny Wright, who has worked with Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson and the Backstreet Boys.

Ex-Idol Jessica in Trouble

Former "American Idol" finalist Jessica Sierra was arrested yesterday in her hometown of Tampa for conking a man on the head with a glass at a cafe, police say. She was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on a felony charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

The 21-year-old was also charged with possession of cocaine and the introduction of contraband into a correctional facility after officers found a small amount of the drug while searching her, according to police. Her bail was set at $11,500.

The victim suffered a cut over his eye, the Associated Press reports.

Sierra appeared on "Idol" in 2005.

Beamed Up

Some of the remains of actor James Doohan, best known as Scotty on "Star Trek," were launched into suborbital space Saturday, along with those of Gordon Cooper-- one of the original seven Mercury astronauts -- and about 200 other people.

Hundreds of spectators witnessed the event at Spaceport America, a commercial launch site near Truth or Consequences, N.M.


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© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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