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Juanes Judging Dewars' Dewarista Talent Competition at the Stage Miami

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It's hard out there for a musician. Just ask the "King of Miami Pop," Robert Elias.

"It's been somewhere between fun and neurotic," laughs Elias. "It's lots of hard work, but I feel like I'm kind of starting to get to a really interesting place in my career."

Aside from having released his debut English album, Magic City, last year, promoting his latest single and music video "How Does It Feel," and performing at your fave local hot spots, Elias has just been named a finalist in Dewars' Dewarista talent competition, featuring judge and Latin music superstar Juanes.

"I'm superpumped," says Elias.

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Dewars and Juanes are on the search for the "next emergent sound" in musica Latina and are hosting a series of three regional competitions in San Antonio, Miami, and New York to discover "the best up and coming artist in Latin music today."

Robert Elias and the Revenge are one of four local musicians among Palo!, FatKingBulla, and Jessi Leon who'll be competing at the Miami showcase this Thursday at the Stage.

The grand prize: opening for Juanes during a private Dewaristas concert in Miami this September.

"To me, it'll be huge to perform for [Juanes'] audience," hopes Elias. "He's the freakin' Latin monster king of the universe, and it'll be an honor."

The Miami Showcase marks the second of three phases of the competition, the first being chosen as a regional finalist based on "originality, Dewar's brand image fit, representation of the local culture and city, and overall performance."

The lucky finalists will perform in front of a panel of judges led by Juanes during the regional competitions. From there, only one band will make it to phase three, where the fate of the winning artist will be determined by voting fans.

"I think that hopefully fans from other cities, they'll fall in love with an artist. I don't think it should be 'I'm gonna support this artist because of where I'm from.' Hopefully, they'll base it on talent and authenticity."

Well, Robbie, Palo!, FatKingBulla, and Jessi Leon, make us proud.

May the best Dewarista win!

Dewars Presents: Dewaristas featuring Juanes. With Robert Elias and the Revenge, Palo!, FatKingBulla, and Jessi Leon. Thursday, July 25, 8 p.m., at the Stage, 170 NE 38th St., Miami; 305-576-9577; thestagemiami.com. RSVP only at dewaristas.dewars.com/age-gate/.

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