‘La Banda’ auditions in South Beach

On Thursday, giant tents and a huge stage were set up on the sands of South Beach by the volleyball courts between Seventh and Eighth streets on Ocean Drive — and not the latest glossy magazine shoot.

La Banda was in town, the upcoming Univision reality show that looks to discover the best Latino boy band out there (think Menudo meets One Direction). The show launches this fall; the winners get a sweet recording contract, and hopefully fame will follow.

Celebrity judges Ricky Martin, Spanish crooner Alejandro Sanz and Italian pop singer Laura Pausini checked out what the guys had to offer and taped the first episodes.

As one of the show’s executive producers, Martin said he was especially proud to bring this music-based, multi-media competition show in conjunction with Simon Cowell’s SYCO Entertainment to viewers.

“It is the largest talent search in U.S. Hispanic TV history,” said the Livin’ La Vida Loca singer, “and we could not be more excited to form the ultimate super group.”

The stars were pleased with the turnout, not only here but in all of the cities they have visited in the United States and Puerto Rico thus far.

“The auditions have gone great,” said Sanz. “There is an incredible amount of talent in the Latino community.”

As for the sort of individuals who will make the cut, Martin said: “We’re looking for people who cannot only express themselves through music but that also have the ability to connect with their fans artistically. To be an entertainer, it is extremely important to be multifaceted, so the contestants we are looking for have to be able to sing, dance and perform.”

Other key attributes: “self-confidence, work ethic, determination and passion to succeed in this business,” Martin said.

Added Pausini: “The boys have done an incredible job thus far, and I can appreciate how nervous and excited they must feel to stand in front of such a large audience of fans.”

Oh yes, the fans. Throngs of young women lined up on the sands to get a glimpse of the budding musicians inside the tents.

Bummer: Production is keeping mum on who made it through.


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