Spanish teacher Víctor Sánchez in his classroom at Burnet High School. The 21-year-old recently competed on 'Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento,' the longest-running talent competition on U.S. Spanish television. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
Burnet High School Spanish teacher Víctor Sánchez has talent, a lot of talent. You could say Sánchez “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento,” which just happens to be the name of the longest-running talent competition on U.S. Spanish television on which Sánchez recently competed.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Sánchez said about being chosen for the final rounds.
Although he put his music dreams on hold to teach Spanish, he still sang with family and friends, who encouraged him to audition.
At first he said no. He was in his last semester of college at Texas A&M University-Commerce and student teaching at Mount Pleasant High School. He also had to complete several exams for his teaching certifications. He just didn’t have time, he said.
A fan of the show, Sánchez followed it on Instagram. When he saw a post detailing how to audition, he decided to give it a shot. He submitted a video and forgot all about it, until he got a phone call from show officials wanting a Zoom interview. That led to a Zoom audition with one of the producers and a confluence of bad timing in a busy schedule.
The producer audition was in late August, which was at the end of his first week of student teaching. His vocal cords were overworked after days of using his “teaching” voice.
“I did terrible, and I even told the producer that,” Sánchez said. “The producer said, ‘If we call you back, you’re on the show. If not, well, good luck to you.’”
Filming was underway when Sánchez got another phone call on Monday, September 28. He had been selected for the final rounds and had to be on a 6 a.m. planeto Los Angeles two days later.
Sánchez was in the middle of student teaching and in his last semester in college. He also had a state teacher certification test the next morning. Show officials agreed to give him until Tuesday to make his decision.
After the certification test Tuesday morning, Sánchez first raced to the high school and then to his college to tell them about his opportunity to perform on “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento.” He fully expected them to say no way. To his surprise, both schools told him to go for it.
The talent show uses a combination of four celebrity judges and audience participation to determine who advances from one round to the next. In previous seasons, only one winner was selected. This season, the show was choosing five singers who would form a band named Nuevo Elemento to be promoted by Sony Music Latin. Each of the five members would receive $20,000.
Sánchez landed in Los Angeles on Wednesday and performed on Thursday. The judges split 2-2, but the audience put him over the top, advancing him to the next round. Producers took note that he was connecting with viewers from across the United States and Mexico.
Sánchez worked his way through to a semifinal round, where he went head to head with contestant Lilo Bermudez of Phoenix. Bermudez won and went on to land one of the five spots in Nuevo Elemento.
Sánchez said he was not disappointed. The 21-year-old Marble Falls resident gained confidence in the process, even his elimination.
“I got knocked out by one of the winners,” he said. “And this isn’t my last hurrah.”
With a thriving Hispanic music scene in nearby Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and even Dallas, Sánchez plans to pursue his musical dreams. He wants to use his experience to help his students find their own dreams and work to achieve them.
“Dreams are great, but you have to do the hard work to make them come true,” he said. “That’s what I want my students to learn from me. You can make a lot of excuses, but if you want something bad enough, you can get it, but you have to work. Look at your obstacles, learn from them, but don’t let them stop you.
Follow Sánchez on Instagram at @_thatmexicanguyyouknow.