This week, Pentatonix won NBC’s The Sing-Off. The Texas-based electro-funky quintet gets to take advantage of a $200,000 prize and a juicy Sony recording contract.
Today, we got the chance to speak to Pentatonix’s only female member – who also happens to be Latina! 19-year-old Kirstie Maldonado, who father is Mexican-American and mother is Spanish and Italian, shared details of her time in The Sing-Off, as well as whether or not she would ever sing in español. The super sweet Texas teen also spoke about her love for the late Tejana singer Selena and shed light on one of her lowest points in the competition. Check out our interview with Maldonado below:
Congrats on winning The Sing-Off! How do you feel?
It feels amazing, its still very surreal but it was the most incredible feeling. I was so nervous on stage and was holding back tears and losing it – obviously from the camera shots they got of me! When I really think about it, I’m amazed and I feel blessed and grateful. It’s crazy!
Did you think Pentatonix would win?
From the beginning, we just wanted to do well because we were a newly-formed group. We’re doing it just for fun and for the love of music. When we found our niche, we were hoping we would make it to the finals. And we were like, "This is kind of in reach, this could maybe actually happen for us," especially with all the feedback we were getting.
What was the greatest challenge for you on the show?
There was one week where I got really sick and an overload of things I’ve been thinking about came crashing down [Laughs]. I got really sick and lost my voice and since there are only five people in the group, it made me worried and nervous that I wouldn’t get my voice back and I would bring down my group. That dragged me down emotionally and a lot of my friends had left the previous week. That was my hardest week for me.
That must have been a lot of pressure for you…
Yea. I also had a solo that week too so I didn’t want to bring down the group with a horrible solo as well. I ended up getting better and it came together.
How does your family feel about your win?
They’re really excited! My mom has random freak-outs and little moments sometimes because we are going to move to L.A. beginning of next year. I’m her only child so I’m like her baby. She’s really excited for me, and my dad is really happy for me as well. They support me 100 percent.
Do you speak Spanish?
No—I wish. My grandparents from both sides do, but they never taught my parents, so they never taught me and I’ve always been sad about that.
Would you ever consider learning to sing phonetically in Spanish?
Oh, yea definitely! I really wished I’d learned Spanish. I took it all in high school and was planning on trying to be fluent in it. I would get Selena tracks and sing with them, and stuff like that. When the movie Selena came out, I got really obsessed with her and my mom and I went and saw it. I got karaoke background tracks and tried really hard! [Laughs]
Who are some of your favorite Latina singers?
Jennifer Lopez, she’s my girl! And Shakira… I really like her.