Miami Lakes’ Yurisbel hopes to become first Cuban ‘American Idol’

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. – Yurisbel Garcia, also known as “El Yuri,” said he wants to be the first Cuban “American Idol” to show the country how “El party” is done.

“They don’t expect, you know, this flavor to come out there,” he said.

In true Miami 305 spirit, the performer wore his white dress shoes and his oversized sunglasses for the singing competition. His audition was included in the show, which airs nationwide at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“I am like a fireball!”

Garcia, 25, said his moves and beats are inspired by Pitbull and his grandmother’s taste in music — everything from the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz, to The Sun of Mexico, Luis Miguel.

The Miami-Dade County resident, who moved to Miami Lakes from Cuba when he was a teenager said, his family was proud. He said just being able to interact with the judges — Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie — during his audition was a dream come true.

“My mom, my dad, you know they love Lionel Richie,” he said adding, “Katy Perry has been like my dream girl this whole time.”

Garcia said he is ready for “American Idol” but is America ready for him? It’s too early to say, as other hopefuls from across the country also try to impress the judges during the audition rounds.

If the judges choose “El Yuri,” he will have to win over hearts nationwide. It will be up to the viewers to vote from home for the singer who will be crowned as the next “American Idol.”


A Hispanic has yet to win the competition, which has had 17 seasons. Kelly Clarkson was the first “American Idol” in 2002 when Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell were the judges.

Carrie Underwood won season four of "American Idol" in 2005.

Ruben Studdard won season two. Three other Black singers have won since. Fantasia Barrino won season three, Jordin Sparks won season six, and Candice Glover won season 12.

All of the winners from seasons seven through 11, were white men who play the guitar: David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, and Phillip Phillips.

About the Authors:

Jenise Fernandez joined the Local 10 News team in November 2014. She is thrilled to be back home reporting for the station she grew up watching. Jenise, who is from Miami and graduated from Florida International University, also interned at Local 10 while she was in college.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.