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The next Jackson Five?: Renton's EriAm Sisters featured on NBC's 'America's Got Talent'

The EriAm sisters are, from left, Salina, 14, Lianda, 15, and Haben,11. - Adam J. Weintraub
The EriAm sisters are, from left, Salina, 14, Lianda, 15, and Haben,11.
— image credit: Adam J. Weintraub

With a televised performance on the NBC show “America’s Got Talent,” Tuesday night, Renton’s EriAm Sisters are getting ever closer to becoming the nation’s next young singing sensation.

Their fans simply need to decide which young singing sensation the sisters most resemble: Destiny’s Child or The Jackson Five.

The three sisters and their family say Destiny’s Child. NBC says Jackson Five.

NBC.com’s video clip of the day Monday was the EriAmSisters performing the Jackson Five hit “I want you back.”

The clip was a preview for the fourth season of “America’s Got Talent,” the all-ages talent show on NBC that started Tuesday and runs through September.

Written under Monday’s clip was a question.

“Could the new ‘Jackson Five’ be an all-girl trio?”

The show’s celebrity judges may have answered that question during the pre-recorded audition aired on NBC Tuesday night.

All three judges — David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne — voted the trio onto Las Vegas, the next phase of auditions.

“Ladies, you are the most talented kids I have seen on this show since the beginning. You are terrific,” Hasselhoff told the girls after their performance of the Jackson Five hit.

The EriAm sisters — Haben, 11, Salina, 14, and Lianda, 15 — sang the tune while prancing onstage in bright shirts, leggings and black vests.

Hasselhoff’s comment certainly answered the question Osbourne asked the girls just before they took the stage.

“So, are you any good?” she asked.

Osbourne’s post-audition judgment echoed Hasselhoff’s.

“I think you’re fantastic, and what’s better is you are a family,” she told the Abraham girls.

The Abraham family of Renton woke up Wednesday to “so many phone calls,” says the girls’ father Mulugheta Abraham.

His daughters’ performance aired on King 5 News, “Today” and “Good Morning America.”

“It was all over, it was beautiful,” Mulugheta said. “That was really nice. We are really excited about that.”

The entire Abraham family — about 25 people — watched the girls on TV Tuesday night.

It was the first time Mulugheta and his wife Tiblets had seen the full performance. The couple was backstage during the taping earlier this spring, but only had a view of the girls’ backsides, and couldn’t completely hear the singing or the judges’ comments.

The proud parents could see and hear everything on Tuesday night’s TV show, including the crowd’s post-performance cheers of “EriAm, EriAm!...”

Mulugheta was thrilled with how his daughters “rocked the stage.” “They did fantastic, they did so well,” he said.

The EriAm Sisters sang so well on the show that Mulugheta later received phone calls asking him if his daughter were lip synching.

A user comment posted under the NBC. com video clip of the EriAm performance said the girls sang the Jackson Five song better than the young Michael Jackson, who sang the song with his siblings.

“I don’t know what more you can ask for as a parent,” Mulugheta said of the EriAm performance.

Of course, ultimately, he and his daughters are hoping for first place on “America’s Got Talent.” The grand prize is $1 million, plus almost-certain record deals and other perks.

“It would be amazing to win ‘America’s Got Talent,’ ‘cause I would know I was not just doing it just, like, alone, I would have my sisters with me at the time,” the youngest Abraham sister, Haben, said on the show Tuesday night.

Haben has performed solo at events across the country, and finished fourth on “The Maury Show’s” “America’s Most Talented Singing Kid” competition last spring.

All three sisters have performed at a variety of community events, and will play a benefit concert for Communities in Schools of Renton Friday night at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center.

Audience members at Friday’s concert probably won’t hear any Jackson Five material, Mulugheta says, but they will hear plenty of songs off of the girl’s already recorded first CD. The EriAm Sisters have already released their first single, “My BFF.”

“We’re confident we’ll have some really good songs for the crowd,” Mulugheta says.

The EriAm Sisters will also continue to perform good songs on “America’s Got Talent.”

NBC has not yet announced the airing date of the Vegas portion of the show. But a performance by the EriAm Sisters will certainly air again on the show before August, when the live, elimination portion of the show begins.

Mulugheta is hopeful his daughters will make it to that portion of the show, which he calls “the torturous process of elimination.”

Being selected for the show would be a “huge recognition” for the EriAm Sisters, Mulugheta says — a recognition that he says would “hopefully open doors for them down the road.”

Even if the EriAm Sisters fall short on “America’s Got Talent,” they always have Plan A: releasing that already recorded first CD.

“If this goes nowhere, we can go back to Plan A,” Mulugheta says. “But this can only help. Whether they make it or not, it’s going be really helpful for them.”

For now, proud papa Mulugheta is simply grateful his daughters have made it so far on the NBC show, and that the nation is beginning to recognize the talent that he and Tiblets have always known their daughters possess.

“We’re so happy that we made it to Vegas,” he says. “We’re extremely blessed to make it to the next round.”

Meet the EriAm Sisters

The EriAm Sisters are Haben, 11, Salina, 14, and Lianda, 15. Haben attends Dimmitt Middle School and Salina and Lianda go to Aviation High School in Seattle. The trio lives in Renton with their parents Mulugheta and Tiblets, who are from Eritrea, a country in East Africa. EriAm stands for Eritrean-American. For more information about the girls, visit their Web site at www.eriamsisters.com.

See them live

The EriAm Sisters will perform a benefit concert for Communities in Schools of Renton at Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on June 26. Breaking Point Dance Company will also perform at the concert.

Tickets are $20. For tickets, call 425-204-2408 or e-mail gail.burton@rentonschools.us CISR supports families and students with mentor and family liaison programs.

Buy their first single

The EriAm Sisters have released their first single. Called "My BFF" the song is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and Napster.

FOLLOWING IS THE ORIGINAL STORY ON THE ERIAM SISTERS

With an upcoming appearance on the NBC show "America's Got Talent," Renton's EriAm Sisters are getting ever closer to becoming the nation's next young singing sensation.

Their fans simply need to decide which young singing sensation the sisters most resemble: Destiny's Child or The Jackson Five.

The girl's father, Mulugheta Abraham, says Destiny's Child. NBC says Jackson Five.

The sisters will play a benefit concert for Communities in Schools of Renton on Friday.

NBC.com's video clip of the day Monday was the EriAm Sisters performing the Jackson Five hit "I want you back."

Written under the clip is a question.

"Could the new 'Jackson Five' be an all-girl trio?"

The clip is a preview for the fourth season of "America's Got Talent," the all-ages talent show that starts Tuesday and runs through September. The video was shot in April during the Seattle auditions for "America's Got Talent."

Will the EriAm Sisters make it past the audition phase and into the phase Abraham calls "the torturous process of elimination?"

Abraham knows that answer but is sworn to secrecy until the results are revealed on the show. That revelation for the EriAm Sisters could be Tuesday night, or next Tuesday, or the Tuesday after that...

Pre-recorded footage of the cross-country auditions will air until August, when the live, elimination portion of the show begins.

"If tomorrow they're not on there, we're still stuck," Abraham says.

With 10s of thousands of fans (that's the number of hits on their MySpace page and YouTube videos), the EriAm Sisters could very well be talented enough to be selected as one of the 40-some groups to make it past the audition phase of the hit show.

The trio — Haben, 11, Salina, 14, and Lianda, 15, — has garnered serious attention from music industry big wigs and has already released its first single. The sisters have also performed at a variety of community events.

The trio's youngest performer, Haben, has performed solo at events across the country and finished fourth on “The Maury Show's” “America’s Most Talented Singing Kid” competition last spring.

But "America's Got Talent" is the sisters' biggest gig yet. The grand prize is $1 million, plus almost-certain record deals and other perks.

Abraham and his wife Tiblets, both musical themselves, have always recognized their daughters' talent. But they are thrilled that national television is beginning to follow their lead. A talent scout invited the girls to the "America's Got Talent" Seattle audition.

Being selected for "America's Got Talent" would be a "huge recognition" for the EriAm Sisters, Abraham says — a recognition that he says would "hopefully open doors for them down the road."

Even if the EriAm Sisters fall short on "America's Got Talent," they always have Plan A: releasing their first CD, which they've already recorded.

"If this goes nowhere, we can go back to Plan A," Abraham says. "But this can only help. Whether they make it or not, it's going be really helpful for them."

"Just to be featured on NBC.com is a huge exposer," Abraham adds.

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