La Banda is getting down to the wire. On last week’s show, judges Laura Pausini, Ricky Martin and Alejandro Sanz were particularly impressed with three local lads, who are now thismuch closer to securing a winning spot in Univision’s boy-band reality competition.
The three — Aaron Bodden, Johann Vera and Yoandri Cabrera — are part of the final 12 who move on to the live rounds to be filmed at Univision’s Doral studios starting at 8 p.m. Sunday. All finalists will have an equal opportunity to individually compete for one of the five spots in the final band that will be signed to Sony Latin and managed by Martin.
We caught up with Vera, a 19-year-old from Ecuador who currently lives in Miramar, and Cabrera, 16, who is taking online high school classes and lives in Westchester.
Who would you guys cite as your musical inspirations?
YC: I love Tori Kelly. She’s really one of my favorites. I also think Amy Winehouse had a very unique style. I’m very versatile with my tastes — Frank Sinatra, Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato. I appreciate their voices and what they do with them.
JV: I would also say Ed Sheeran as well as Michael Jackson and John Mayer. I love pop music, but I’m also very Latino, so salsa, merengue, bachata and reggaeton are a big part of my daily life.
Were you starstruck by the judges? How do you get along with them?
YC: Alejandro Sanz came to my house telling me I had a spot so that was crazy. But he was so humble off camera, and I was really relieved to see that. Laura is an amazing vocalist, and her ballads are beautiful. If you do something wrong she will tell you. That’s a good aspect. When she needs to be hard, she is. Ricky, too. He’s really direct with us. He knows what he wants.
JV: At the first audition I was stressed and nervous and had so many thoughts going through my head. I couldn’t believe it was actually them. Now with more time passing, I realize what an honor it is to actually spend with them and learn from them.
Whose career do you greatly admire?
YC: I like how One Direction’s  album Four is basically the same genre, but they change it up a little bit. It’s very pop but has a little folk and indie rock. They seem very dedicated.
JV: My father loves The Beatles and taught me about them. I think his love was passed down to me. But One Direction is also very current.
Do you guys think you’d be able to handle all of screaming fans who follow boy bands?
YC: If we get a fraction of One Direction’s fans, we’ll be happy! I mean, the girls go a little crazy sometimes, but we know they are supporting us.
JV: We don’t consider them fans, we consider them friends. They follow our music and want to be part of our dream. If we don’t have them, we are nothing pretty much nothing. Fans are the motor and are what is going to make La Banda a success or not.