In December of last year, new Web celeb Rex Hermogino won $50,000 and his own Internet show in the Yahoo! Talent Show, an online video contest. Hermogino's homemade pilot landed him among five finalists, and an American Idol--like contest finale was filmed, currently streaming on Yahoo.com.
The 31-year-old graphic designer (born in the Philippines, raised on Guam) has lived in San Diego since 2000. In addition to his cash prize, Hermogino won a development deal to produce or star in his own Web portal program. "Rex just had a particular presence and ability to capture the audience that could easily translate into an ongoing show on Yahoo!" said contest judge and MTV personality Tom Green in a press release. "The viewing and voting public really helped us narrow the field." Since being launched in October, the Yahoo! talent show site has reportedly been visited by about four million people, with 200,000 rating votes being cast.
Hermogino's winning pilot was among 5000 contest submissions. It contains several of his own music videos, including "Love on the Internet" (which won second-place winner in the 2006 San Diego Composers Guild Song Contest), where he's seen using a vacuum cleaner as a microphone. He also shares holiday tips from his bed, takes a video tour of San Diego, and interviews New Yorkers about their favorite pickup lines.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC?
"A lot of people say I sound like Simple Plan, Barenaked Ladies, and even Weird Al. Dinosaur Jr. is also mentioned a lot. I just like to write stuff that fits the mood I'm in."
WHAT'S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
"To be honest with you, I'm trying to learn Spanish on my own right now, so the songs currently in heavy rotation are norteño, the kind they play on Radio Latina and La Nueva 106.5 FM. Strange, huh? I've got some Tagalog music in there, some techno, house, classic and alternative rock, classical music, jazz, and new age...I also listen to my own songs. I'm always rewriting them."
DESERT ISLAND DVDs?
"I'd bring the Lost TV series; I'm so into that show. However, I refuse to watch if it's not on DVD. There's just too many commercials on TV, and I haven't bought a DVR yet. I'd also bring the movie Hero. I'd probably bring Fox's 24 so I can finally get into it. Can I bring Smallville, too?"
"Have you ever gone on a dinner date and run out of things to talk about, even before the waiter brings the menu to your table? 'Oh, just shoot me now.' "
ADVICE TO BRITNEY SPEARS?
"Get in contact with Sinéad O'Connor. She might need a backup singer."
MOVIES OR TV?
"I like TV series better than movies, because you're not limited to the entirety of a movie. In TV series, the next episode brings you a new plot and maybe new revelations. It keeps you wanting more, and the episodes come much sooner than movie sequels. That's a no-brainer."
STAR TREK OR STAR WARS?
"This is a tough one. I love both of them, and despite what I said about TV series being better than movies, any Star Wars episode is worth the wait. My philosophy professor said that the writers of Star Trek are philosophers who can't find jobs in a university. I think he's right. They write some of the most bizarre plots and create the most interesting characters. "
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
"When I was in middle school, I attempted to do stand-up comedy at a talent show and got booed off the stage. No career there for me. I'll just stick to my music."